All posts by Jenny

Trying Something New…Look, I Ubered

I just arrived in Orlando, Fla to watch Steph compete in a national cheer competition.  I’m enjoying two days of free time, and of course, always turn to writing.  Over the course of my adult life I have realized the awesome power of trying new things.  Some have written books on the subject, others lengthy blog posts.  For some it is easy, and others not so much.

I was told this week that I am one of those people who appear to have their lives together.  You will notice a section of my blog “hot mess to great success.”  While I appreciated the compliment I know all too well that sometimes I have it together and sometimes I do not.  Lately I seem to be falling into old habits – bad ones – and I am bored to death.

This trip is the first time in quite some time I am traveling without my husband.  I love when we travel together – there is an ebb and flow that we follow in our trips that includes chap stick and hand lotion on the plane…to the rental car…to us veering off the path and golfing in an RV park.   Since he wasn’t coming I made the travel arrangements which included staying in one hotel for the entire stay (the horror), no car…and thus…no way to get to leave the airport.  So, I used Uber.

Now, besides the insane number of security issues I have about being picked up in a strangers car, I also had lots of concerns about my credit card information and how long it would take for the car to arrive (have I ever mentioned that I HATE waiting?).  I decided I would embrace what everyone else calls amazing and just try it out – what did I have to lose – a few hours in the sun?

And ya know what I learned?  Uber is FREAKIN’ amazing!  I want to share my “new thing” journey with you so you can possibly use it in your own life or business in some way.

  1.  I researched the heck out of the idea before I landed – I always do this on my laptop with several tabs on my browser open.  I looked at shuttles, compared prices, estimated Uber prices, safety, and availability at the airport (do you know that at some airports there are “Uber lots?” – this fascinated me.
  2. I committed to doing this and not taking the chicken exit of a cab or shuttle – this was the most important part.
  3. I downloaded the app at home and then put in my credit card info so it was ready.
  4. As we landed I checked the wait time and then actual cost.  I read the info about pick-up and was off.  There was one 10 minutes away.
  5. When I got to ground transportation I placed my request and I saw  – on the map – the car headed my way.  I was told the driver’s name, type of car and how many rides he has given.
  6. When he arrived I waited for him to say my name (safety feature) and we were on our way.

I wasn’t proud of myself for figuring out the technology of this – I was reminded how important it is that something new can be easy and less expensive.  I did think it was weird that the driver was using the same car he transports his kids around in.  But whatever – it was clean and he was very kind.

When there is an opportunity for you to try something new – take it.  Be safe on all levels, know what you are doing…and who knows, you just might find an easy and simple solution to a problem you have been waiting to solve – and you just might have fun in the process!

Finding Safe Harbor

“Hi, my name is Jen.  I bring my daughter Stephanie tonight.  She is 16 years old.  On July 2, 2017 we lost her father, my ex-husband and dear friend,  after his  81 day battle with Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.  He was only 50.”

These are the words I say as I introduce myself at Safe Harbor, a bereavement support group run out of Abington Hospital.  WTF?

I can remember the first time I had to say those scripted words…it was during Stephanie’s Safe Harbor orientation  – just the two of us and one staff member.  That time started with a video and then masterfully  moved us through the rooms.  We were eased into the healing power and raw emotion of the space.  There were books about grief, blankets of comfort, games and cushy pillows.  They knew we would need time to process the art on the walls….the sadness of an unknown child who simply colored “Daddy I miss you” on her picture.   You realize you are there because you child is not ok and needs this level of support. I hoped and prayed that this would help.  At the end of that first visit Steph and I  practiced that scripted introduction they have written for you – that parents and children say as each session starts.  I was so grateful for the practice as I choked on the words – I would not have wanted to debut that in front of a crowd.

How did we find ourselves at Safe Harbor – a program that requires a scheduling extravaganza every Wednesday as we pick-up early from cheer practice, have a quick dinner and then make the 45 minute drive to Abington, PA – arriving home by 8:30 pm exhausted?

Because this past September my youngest was angry at just about everything in her life.  From her cheer stunting to doing the dishes of others – anything would set her off.  The coaches called…I dried her tears when she would rage about life being unfair.  She would hear how a kid was mad at his dad and think how she would kill to be fighting with John.  Her friends didn’t understand and she didn’t expect them to.   While I agreed her life was unfair, I was firm that she needed to learn to control her anger  – it was not going to serve her.  The guidance counselor and therapist were amazing but she needed peers who understood.   She needed to be able to talk to other teens and be able to cry…and laugh…and remember her father with other kids who knew her loss.  I had heard about Safe Harbor and cried during the intake call asking the volunteer on the other end of the phone to “please help my child.”  I felt like I was failing to help her and knew I was doing the right thing.  It was just another weird event in a series of weird events that had started on April 12th – day 1 of the 81.

Stephanie jumped at the chance to attend – she knew she needed it.  And now she won’t miss a session for anything.  It has become so important that my older daughter will volunteer to drive home from college to take her down if I think I might be late in getting here to Abington (the older daughter is amazing and can be found here).

There is an optional parent component available while Steph is off with the teens – and while it sounds strange, I go.  I was hesitant to join at first thinking that it would be filled with spouses who had lost – and really what could I contribute to that?  I was shocked to learn that while there are spouses there are also ex’s like me – who were friends with their ex and equally devastated he/she is gone – and some grandparents as well who lost their own child and now raise a grandchild.  I have mad respect for them.

There is kvetching and commiserating.  We share our great ideas on helping our children through the process and pass around the tissue box when we admit that helplessness overwhelms us.  Our children are processing a grief that we ourselves have never experienced.  For those with teens we share how hard it is to carry our children through the saddest time of their lives while struggle to give them the independence they crave.  We talk about our shared disappointment  towards the family of the parent who died (married or not – it just doesn’t go well).  It is a Breakfast Club type of group filled with people I probably wouldn’t bump into in my normal circles, and I have come to cherish them.

Steph has learned that whatever she is feeling is just all ok.  She has also realized, all on her own, to appreciate the time she had with John and knows that in many ways big and small she is actually lucky.  Her school and home remained stable, she didn’t have to move.  She has a big blended family that, while loud and annoying, is here to support her unconditionally.  And, most importantly, she knows that John would have fought for more days with her – for just one more hug- there are many children at Safe Harbor dealing with the loss of a parent who chose to permanently leave.

Last week I shared with the group how well my daughters were doing.  This was not bragging, I was sharing my amazement.   The big one has amazed herself by just surviving since she originally thought her world would fall apart.  The middle one is  moving through her senior year like a champ, missing her buddy desperately but determined as ever to make him proud.  The little one flying through Junior year with friends, hopefully a driver’s license in the coming weeks, and knows the void he left can not be filled.  I shared the amount of support I put in place for them – the maneuvering that is done  – the pixie dust I sprinkle – sometimes they realize sometimes they do not – to relieve any little amount of stress  – the endless number of times I have solved a problem with my credit card.  I share how supportive my amazing husband is and I could not live without the few close friends who check in often and tell me I’m amazing (when you write about me make sure to spell my name correctly – it is Dannielle – with two n’s).

At the end of that last session we went out to the hallway and the teens were coming out of their room.  Stephanie was hysterical – it was a sadness I had not seen in her since she learned the meaning of hospice and that her father would be entering.  Mamma Bear kicked in and I ushered her into a conference room so she could escape and bawl on my shoulder.  I felt my baby fall into my arms as we waited for the others to go down in the elevator. She just kept crying.

What set her off?  She had to talk about it…every last detail.  That night’s session was about organizing thoughts, and learning to be able to speak them…about his illness and his death – the sadness she experienced walking into hospice finding him already unconscious – holding his hand saying goodbye…never talking with him again. You see, the facilitators know what it is like to explain the details to a new college roommate or an employer.  And they want to make sure Steph now has the coping skills that they wish they had had to get through those explanations.

During orientation I didn’t really pay attention to the video – I was not really even able to process the words the narrator was speaking.   I was still in shock that he was gone and was exhausted from watching my children in so much pain.  Stephie was sitting next to me so angry and a little broken.  This is really only for those who can “go there,” but in those moments I pictured John sitting in the chair across from Stephanie – right there at that orientation…just like he had sat near us so many times – at concerts and parent-teacher conferences.  He was looking at her with his usual attitude he saved just for me in these situations,  “Steph, your mom is crazy but always right about this type of thing – god knows she  dragged me to all this  stuff for you guys plenty of times in the past…Stephie, I am sorry you need to be here, but you need this.”

His spirit whispered to her “I love you” as he left us there to heal.

And at Safe Harbor we have both found the perfect place…surrounded by the perfect support system…to do just that.



Getting CEO Organized

Since I started my first website in 2013, I have gone through the ringer when it comes to the balance between work and family, working in and working on your business, ideal clients and not ideal clients…and attempting to figure out how to schedule my time.  Hence, a category on this blog “Hot Mess to Great Success.”

I was stunned when I launched my first great idea and heard crickets.  Started networking and reading about all these neat things that “they didn’t teach me in PhD school.”  I’ve held together my business with post-it notes and peanut butter.

And then there are the pile of excuses – as I have always known I have to get it together as I allowed my personal life to blindside me.  It seems like each time I attempted to put new systems in place the universe had other plans.  I would have a personal curve ball thrown at me (some good some horrific) or a slew of new clients would run in the door and I would abandon all plans and stop paying attention to goals…and systems.  I was a rat in a wheel.

However, with the start of 2018 I have taken the opportunity to say that for the first time I will achieve my goals – with relentless pursuit and never ending passion.  No longer will my personal life get in the way of my sales system.  The hot mess but great success that I was isn’t cute anymore – it is unbecoming of a CEO.

Here are a few things I have started…and that all entrepreneurs can start as well…to get their mind, body, soul and business moving forward.

I have a massive list of daily habits that I want to build and for me the only way to accomplish this is by writing it down and then ticking them off each day.  They range from 30 minutes of cardio to blogging to learning french.  Most of the things on the list I have wanted to improve upon for some time and…as I have stated to the universe…now is the time.

Scheduling Every Single Last Thing
I took the time and figured out all of the different activities I need to spend time on each week – from writing and blogging to client work and tennis.  I then standardized it into a template so I can get in the habit of doing things on certain days at certain times.  I purchased a calendar that has the month view but also a page for each week in column form.  Each Sunday I block out my calendar – for instance, Wednesday morning from 8-11 is marketing brainstorming and writing, Mondays from 9-12 I am working on sales system touches.  In each of these categories I will have specifics of what I want to accomplish – little to-do lists.

I have never had a sales system.  I’ve never had a way to reach out to cold leads, follow-up to those who show interest – or even follow-up after I send a proposal.  Now I have the systems in place so I can really start to sell – and track – and reach out.  I’ve heard the phrases “if you aren’t selling you are dying,” “sell like hell.”  Now I can do that because I have a plan in place for each step.

For someone with such an analytical mind I have not done a good idea of tracking…anything…for my business.  I’ve simplified my tracking systems and made sure they fit with my goals.  I’ve also standardized lists – so everything is in the same order as I move from daily, weekly and monthly notes to tracking sheets for the year.

I will say that on each of these topics I have done a tremendous amount of reading and introspection.  I’ve taken notes on what successful entrepreneurs do, what is going to work for me, and then what I am ready to commit to.  For me, the biggest piece of this is that commitment to relentlessly pursue my goals.

Know Thy Numbers

So for many reasons and mostly procrastination I have never tracked the numbers of my business.  You would think that with my analytical mind I would have a handle on the bounce rate for my website (how about just the number of visitors?), the number of blog posts I write, my moz ratings, and the ever popular ‘close rate’ on client proposals.

As I started my business my biggest metric was self-measured stress level as my phone did not instantly ring.  Then, as I signed clients I was all excited about the dollars pouring into my bank account…and the business was building I thought “ok, how big can this get?”  And life got in the way – moving and blending, getting remarried, saying goodbye and recovering through the end of 2017.

But no more…and I’m really sick and tired of guessing…not knowing…and being a little clueless.  Paying my bills, saving the maximum in a 401k, and still having money left over is no longer the sign of success.  I want to know what else is going on in my business – so as I scale I know where I need help.

To be clear, most questions about business growth can not only rely on a number – usually they also require some intuition, market research, temperature taking, and gut instinct.  But the start are the numbers.

As you start on your own path as an entrepreneur start collecting data.  This way, when someone asks how many visits you receive on your website, you won’t have to “guestimate”

Here is a small sample of the numbers I have committed to tracking – and what is so funny is that I put ‘tracking’ as a goal for this year by itself.  I’m doing these (and more) each month:

  1. Number of hot prospects
  2. Number of videos I send out
  3. Proposals sent
  4. Number of blog posts and LinkedIn long posts.
  5. Hours I work on goals for my business
  6. Number of visits to my website (
  7. My Moz rating
  8. Number of 30 minute cardio workouts I get in.

The list is endless and enough to make anyone else’s head spin.  Here is what I have learned after 5 years in business – you can only track over time what you commit to measuring – and most importantly – is there value to any activity?

The 15 Minutes of Fame

As many know, one of my children needed a group of peers whose members had also lost a parent.  And to get her the type of support she needed we found our way to Safe Harbor.  Honestly, not even I, the great wordsmith could do it justice in a sentence – so I won’t try – that is blog for another time which I promise will include the reasons I attend the parent component.  But let’s move on…

I should stop here for a second and warn you that I am not in the best of moods.  So, if you get insulted easily or don’t like complaining, this just isn’t your post.

And at that support group I have met Debbie – she is the Ellen Buschbaum of Safe Harbor – red hair, Jewish, a bit outspoken and absolutely awesome.  If you know how much I love Ellen, you can imagine how glad I am to have Debbie in the group.

A few weeks ago Debbie shared the concept of the 15 minutes of fame.

That time period that surrounds the wake and the funeral – where everyone is around you, supporting you…they make promises that they will be in touch, help and check-in.  My children were promised trips to Jamaica, “we will be there for you,” “we will see you.”  Some in attendance bawled as if they talked with John every day… and as such they attended each and every minute of the activities right through the luncheon.  And then they vanished – the 15 minutes was up.

When Debbie talked about the 15 minutes of fame concept so much was made so clear – the 15 minutes of fame his family and friends needed – to get through – to pretend like they were close – to give speeches and toasts and cry on each other’s shoulders.  Of course now, not one of them can take 15 minutes out of their busy day and call just to see how one of my girls is doing – forget caring about me.

But wait, this is my blog…let’s talk about me for a minute – I’m actually sick and tired of being forgotten.  You see…I’m the one who has to carry said child out of Safe Harbor when she is hysterical after a session…I’m the one who now has raging guilt when I can not attend a swim meet because of a cheer leading event – I have to choose – my children don’t have a parent in attendance.    I’m the one who has to ask my oldest daughter to please come home and work the cheer competition because for me to give up an entire day is completely impossible.  I’m the one who was told I had no rights during the estate process but was saddled with insurmountable debt I now have to pay – and was lied to by his lawyers and family as they kept money for themselves while I paid for three sets of teeth extractions (it was a long weird summer).  Dinner on the night when we have to go down to Safe Harbor?   You would like to cook my contribution for the swim team pasta party?  Oh my gosh I would fall over dead if someone volunteered all that.

I get it, I’m the ex – but you would think that would make his side want to be even more involved – to make sure he was represented. But don’t worry – I got that too – scrapbooks of his entire life for Christmas – yeah, I did those – even though his family did not contribute one stinkin’ picture.  And, let’s not forget the squares – that the family fought me on as well   For the record – attending graduation is not supporting a child – nice gesture – but it is in the day to day – it is down in the trenches where the kids really need the help – where it gets hard – where so much has to be done and schedules are stretched thin.  Where you know they crave the other parent and I’m the only one available.  It would be REALLY NICE to have his side represented once in a while.  My side is freakin’ exhausted.

I’m glad they all got their 15 minutes of fame…I’ll be here getting the real work done…all by myself.


Returning to Church…

For years I have battled an internal struggle revolving around returning to church.  I was raised a devout Catholic where church doctrine was never questioned and mass was always attended even on vacation.  I taught Kindergarten CCD for my oldest daughter and started having problem with the prayers I was expected to have them memorize even though I didn’t know some of the vocabulary.   I attended the children’s mass a few times and sat in horror as I watched these children stand and recite these same prayers without comprehension.  Then the sex abuse scandals broke and I watched in horror on TV as the accused and convicted were shuffled around and moved to more prominent positions as if to be rewarded for their crimes.

And I said no more.  At this time I committed to the girls all receiving their First Holy Communion, basically so everyone would have the picture in the white dress and a big party to remember.  We started attending a family program at our local Presbyterian Church which had a stellar Youth Group component, and I suddenly found myself no longer a practicing Catholic for the first time in my life.

I was no longer watching the hypocrisy of Democrats accepting communion (this always bugged me) – the cafeteria Catholics who took prominent positions in the church and then left the building and then no longer lived a Catholic life.  I didn’t care what they did at home, I just hated that they acted one way in front of the cross when others were watching.

When we moved out here to the sticks I attended service at the Lutheran Church…it was deserted…the Presbyterian Church was so stuffy and sort of reminded me of the folks in The Purge…and then I went to the other Lutheran church, which was as deserted as the first.  I resolved to find a church when it felt right again…

Last year I found myself actually returning to the Catholic Church.  Not for mass but to light candles and talk to God…actually beg God to save him.  To spare his life and bring him home so that my children would not have to walk a path without their father.  This fall I returned to cry in those pews and light candles asking for John to move college applications for our middle daughter into the “yes” pile so she didn’t know rejection after losing him.  Needless to say, John passed away and she was rejected from her first choice..the candles did not work.  As a realist I was not lighting candles asking for help, I know God rewards all.  I was there out of desperation and reaching back to a world that I knew – because there was nothing else I could really do.

And now, as I enter 2018, for many reasons and almost no reason at all it is time.  I’m making the rounds…sitting in services among the few and the uptight…looking for a spiritual home.  But this time I have a different mission…and that is just to sit.  Not expect to much and everything that I would want in a Christian community.  As long as  I have a place to go, even if it is a different place every week for a while…well that is good enough for me.

I’m not giving up because I haven’t found perfection – I’m adjusting my expectations and staying true to my cause here – find a place to go and be at peace once per week.  And it is all the better if the community I sit with doesn’t mind if I’m a bit off key.

The Squares

As many of you know, on July 1, 2017 we lost my ex-husband John Wengler after his 81 day battle with Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.  At the end of his life I started thinking of how we were all going to move forward and was a bit overwhelmed realizing my responsibility in helping to keep his memory alive .  After all, the girls are young with many milestones ahead, and he certain deserved to have some special presence.  I needed a way to very simply infuse him into moments of their lives honoring him without being overwhelming, since I was going to be the one who was present for them all.

And so was born the idea that is now known now as “The Squares.”

John had a love and collection of Hawaiian shirts, and was often made fun of for his lack of fashion sense.  Upon his death I was certain that no one would make a claim for these shirts.  And they could be the subtle yet powerful token to help me out.

I had each of the girls place a square with him as they said their final goodbye and then  I shared that I would make sure a square would be sewn into special moments of their lives – like graduation gowns and Christening blankets.  Sometimes I just cut a square of a shirt and write simple words and phrases like “18th birthday,” “drivers permit,” – and leave them on pillows on special days.

They aren’t meant to be messages from beyond.  They are meant to remind the girls that during moments big and small his spirit in them lives on as they move forward.  I have learned that they keep the squares in special places and cherish the pile they are building.

I have struggled with the “is this really my job” when it comes to honor his memory – after all, he was my ex-husband.   But he was a close friend, my co-parent – and I feel obligated to honor the peace we had – and I do this for my children – who lost a very special father way too young.

So, from now until eternity his memory will “own” the Hawaiian print – I’m convinced no one else will lay claim to it – certainly not the fashion industry.

Behind the Scenes

I exhausted myself staying one-step ahead of you – second guessing and overthinking, maneuvering in the background where you couldn’t see, where you would never look.  Putting so much support in place and then camouflaging it in the care of other people.     Ensuring doors opened for you effortlessly.  I built scaffolding that was invisible – well, except to me since I was holding it together, or would have to rebuild it when someone dropped the ball, or forgot, or upset you in some way that was unjust.  And again, so you wouldn’t see it.  And you thought everyone else was amazing and so supportive, with their comments and cards.

The therapy, support groups, guidance counselors and even just talking to the friends of your parents – the time in searching for the right people to talk with, at the right time, just in case you needed them, we needed them, in the future.

And everyone keeps telling you how great you are doing, how he loves you and is looking down, how his strength will get you through, and how much he loves you.  And I continue to hold up each of you like three boulders on my back.  As parents themselves it is like they do not realize what it would take to get you through this in the real world of our lives.  As if his memory is enough to get you through – and I’m just carrying on doing nothing for you.  It is really easy to post a “he loves you” comment on an Instagram post – it is another to reach out and see if you actually need help.

I get the sense that they feel I’m the ex, and the one who is lucky to be alive – they were clear at the beginning with all of the “should’s” for me, especially for my wallet.  Maybe  they can’t even imagine that I would say a kind word about him – or make you scrapbooks they chose not to contribute to.

My unwavering position from the day of his diagnosis was that you would be ok…you would survive the initial shock of the “c” word.  Right from the start my research led me in the scariest of directions, and “no hope” was the best outlook we had.  But then there was the part of me that didn’t want to be the grim reaper – sure, there is hope, maybe he would be the exception, the miracle would happen.  In my heart I hoped but new the gruesome reality of what we were facing.  Where was I wrong, that it would all be over so quickly and I would be left holding a bag of insanity to sort out, almost all on my own.

But now six months later and you have realized that you are going to get through this – where there was no hope you actually see opportunity and your own strength.  You’ve realized, “Oh look, time marches on, life goes on…I’m still standing.”  You are surprising yourself and astounding me with your insight.

Take the “he loves you” comment with a grain of salt – people need to be in the public eye showing support.  For the record there are only a handful of people who have actually reached out to me – and honestly, I talked to them on a daily basis before his diagnosis.


Goodbye to 2017

I can remember last January (2017)  reading that the most successful entrepreneurs know the magical power of January 1st, they plan for it and then walk into the new year ready to step off and create new habits…new systems…new income…and it all made perfect sense to me.  Don’t miss a single opportunity to create the next year and start on Day 1.   While I had planned a bit I didn’t have the detail to launch an attack on life on January 1st.  And after the hoopla of the holidays, and without a concrete plan and the regular few new clients that trickled in…well, for me 2017 was off and running.

However, at the start of 2017  I did say to the universe, “I just want my life to look completely different by the end of 2017.”  As a powerful manifester I should have known better than to be so vague…what I meant was that I wanted my business to be significantly bigger…

Instead, the universe, acting with zippo direction from me, delivered to me exactly what I had asked for – and I sit here on December 31st still a bit dazed.  From the start of his illness my children were living with me full-time, adjusting to visiting their father in ICU and rehab, no longer able to have full conversations with him due to a tracheotomy and feeding tube that were inserted just 7 days after diagnosis .  They learned and saw the impact of daily radiation and weekly chemo.  Life was already completely different and they hoped it was temporary…and then he died…yep, the guy that promised to be immortal, left us on July 2nd – only 81 days after his diagnosis.  During this time I also noticed my clothes disappearing out of my drawers at an alarming rate – ahhhh…three daughters full-time.

During the “15 minutes of fame,” which to us parents who have lost the co-parent – is the time when the whole world gathers around you in a gigantic show of support for you and your children.  Ex, or not, you get promises of support, “we are going to check in with you,” “know you are not alone.”  Then reality sets in, people start telling you what to do with your own children and have the nerve to talk down to you when they remind you it is your job to honor his memory.  I was sued by his family as they also managed through a loophole to saddle me with his tremendous debt.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, health and dental insurance, college applications, car titles and car insurance,  and how my middle daughter was going to finish out her senior year of high school where her father lived – dumped in my lap without an iota of care – at one point the family sent me his tax bill and told me to pay it.  Gone was the loving and respectful relationship I had built from scratch with my co-parent.  The day he died his sister called me screaming.

Yep…life was looking completely different.

So, not to get caught again with my manifesting pants down, I have been much more specific.  After-all, I have to be.  The very powerful messages I put out the universe seem to be taken in the most literal sense.  This year will be about building me.

I have told the universe I now have boundaries – no one can come into my house (mind, heart, parenting) and push me around.  My business will build with new systems, new staff, and new clients that are all in place – and more, lots more, will be coming in…and I have a profoundly different outlook on life.

Tonight I will ring in 2018 as my dear sister marries the most kind-hearted and loving perfect man that she manifested.  We have both come a long way since she stood at the backdoor of her home years ago,  ranting about who the heck would ever want to come into her insane life.  Now, we have both hopped across the river and find ourselves living the same mile apart here in PA that we had in NJ. Weird.

I will be wearing a dress owned by my other bestie which, is quite different for me as well.  That woman knows how to shop – and look fabulous – and I am grateful to take advantage of her legwork.

And, as the clock strikes midnight I will be holding myself accountable for every second of time and what I choose to do with it – I will be relentlessly pursuing my dreams – in a way I have never walked before

Tomorrow I will sit with my family but also for a while with my business – lay out those boundaries and continually remind us all of the very specific things I am manifesting in 2018 …and savor the opportunity of starting fresh on day one with a new year.

In 2017 I am leaving behind my very heavy heart and profound sadness I have carried for the last 6 months for my dear friend.  I believe that in many ways I have been the one to care the most about my friend and all that he is missing with our children – several times a day, every single day, I have cried for his pain.  But, I believe that he would want me to be mosying on – and what better time to do that than on NYE.

2017 gave me gifts and lessons while it robbed me blind at the same time.  I bid it a fond farewell and look forward…with specificity of course.

The Hustle

Ya know what has built my business – my hustle.

In the words of a woman I highly admire…Ms. Tina Hines…The very people who are saying they want to be where you are, are also talking about your ego.


CEO- if you are not operating with integrity in your business, then you are not worthy of the CEO title.  Earn it every single day.

Webinar Review – The Four Pillars of Your Business

How to build your business?  I love to take calls with coaches and watch business coaching webinars of all sorts.  Typically I find them through Facebook ads or they have secured my email in some way.  I’m not specific in the types of coaching I need – they could be selling general business coaching, high ticket programs, Facebook and list building courses…whatever, I’ll listen.  Afterall, one of my honest statements is that “they didn’t teach me this stuff in PhD school.”  And I always learn something.

The webinars all follow the same pattern and are getting longer…and longer.  The typical webinar starts with “we need your undivided attention” and then continues for about 90 minutes.  Not sure where they learned this length was a good idea – but they must be successful.  They start with our pain points (overwhelmed, lack of predictability, not as successful as where you want to be) continue with their story, throw in testimonials, and at some point in the middle of all of that, they throw in a few teeny tiny pieces of content.  They talk about how whatever it is that they are going to tell you will dramatically change your entire business, your life, and you will shatter your goals – if you implement it.

I typically take significant notes,

Adam Davies.  It took him 12 minutes to introduce himself – I literally had no idea who was talking because his slides were not branded.  Apparently he founded  He lives on the beach (most do) and promises that if you follow his instructions you too can have his amazing life…not sure about the hot wife he talks about…but I digress.

His claim is that you need one funnel – one offer.

The Four Pillars of a Successful Coaching Business

  1. One perfect offer – solves a specific problem, it is priced as a premium, and highly leveraged.  You are selling a result – and that result is critical to your ideal clients.
  2.   TeleFunnel (43 minutes in):  This is your ‘client conversion machine.”  Telephone funnel – I’ve never heard this one before!  The most successful coaching businesses have one.  Huh!  I took LOTS of notes.  Did he give you the exact formula?
  3. Facebook Ads to find your people (‘nuf said’).  Nothing is free if it is taking your time.  Spend the money to do what works….interesting.  What you pay is what you can get out.
  4. Get a mentor…huh, I wonder if he knows one?  Bill Gates has one…Adam himself has invested 10’s of thousands of dollars in a mentor.  You need someone who can help you steer the ship!  Don’t just float!

This was interesting.  He said that the list here to the right – is the icing on the cake.  These things won’t bring in clients.  This stuff will keep you busy – and the effort will not bring you the results you need.  You can exhaust yourself and still not have a consistent funnel.  You need all this stuff, but not until you have the four pillars.

I found this webinar incredibly informative and highly highly recommend you listening through to the end.  For each pillar he does give quite a bit of content which is unusual in a webinar.  I took a page of notes, wrote this blog post, and have some actionable steps I can take going forward.

What did I learn specifically…well, that wouldn’t be ethical for me to share…and you should hear it from Adam yourself.

I Deserve Your A-Game

Let’s face it, these last few months have been rough…in fact, since April 12th I have been living under a blanket of fear and sadness.  Fear he would die, fear of what a recovery could be like, fear of my life changing, fear of you and all you would go through with whatever happened.  Sadness that his summer was ruined, that your life had changed so much while he was in the hospital.  Fear he could not come home, and sadness when I realized he never would.  Fear of how to make it without him, and sadness when we finally had to trudge forward after his death.

Through all of it, I have supported you unconditionally, never hesitating in how my life would change with his illness, the announcement of hospice, and then his death.  You have been my first thought always as I neglected myself and just about everything around me to care for you…sometimes just to worry about you – even when you were fine.

You were pissed, angry and upset with all that was going on, and that was understandable.  You are too young, as was he, to go through any of this.  It is not lost on me that you were stuck with bad cop – the stricter parent.  I know he was your buddy and that void must be heartbreaking for you to even think about acknowledging let alone begin to explore it.  But I’m doing everything I can, and I’m going to now demand your A-Game – afterall, I deserve it.

  1. Flush the toilet
  2. Make your bed
  3. Clean your room
  4. Engage at the dinner table (don’t just stare into space).
  5. Do your chores.
  6. Mind your manners
  7. Show kindness to others when they try to help you through
  8. Look for the good in our home
  9. Say good morning and hello
  10. Say thank you

Above all, it is what your father would have wanted.  He would want you to bring your A-Game to our home, to represent him in the best possible way.  He would want you to remain somewhat together, neat, and to realize that this situation is not perfect for anyone.  He would want you to appreciate that while this impacts you the most there are others who have adjusted around you.

We have heard horror stories of other teens who have gone through exactly what you have experienced…and they have not handled it with the grace and success we expect of you.  They go off the rails turning to others and substances to ease the pain and heal the void.  But the void you feel from his loss is so big that there is nothing that could fill it and I will not allow you to dishonor him by trying .  So as you move forward fill the loss with your own success and happiness. Nothing can dumb or dull the pain of his absence.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media and Blogging to Build Your Business

Social Media Marketing
© | Dreamstime Stock Photos

I recently had the great honor of recording a presentation for a class at Del Val College here in Buck’s County, PA.  As a social media consultant I love sharing my knowledge with small business owners and this certainly feel into that category.  The professor of the class had the students prepare some questions – some related to social media and some to building my business.  During the conversation I realized this would make a great blog.

Continue reading Social Media and Blogging to Build Your Business

Brick wall background.


As I have maneuvered around in the world, I am often amazed how others think they can treat me.  How my time, ideas and intentions are somehow secondary to someone else’s.  How others can look into a part of my life, an event, or ask for a favor and then think they can somehow dictate everything about it…including how it impacts me…or what I want to do….or again, my time. Continue reading Boundaries

Luke, I am NOT your father

He cooks your meals, starts your car in the morning when it is cold, and has dinner with your boyfriend.  Takes you on fancy vacations, checks your oil, and hugged you tight when dad announced he was going into hospice.  He has helped your mom in too many ways to count…and held her up through the imaginable of this summer as she struggled to hold you up at that time.   Continue reading Luke, I am NOT your father

The First Birthday After a Parent Dies – Happy Birthday Buddy

The first birthday after a parent dies.  I was told the day was going to suck …and that this day in future years will always suck.  I prepared myself mentally which means I braced for tears…mine and theirs as well.  The oldest has come home to be with us – I arranged for them to go out to dinner with your person.  I’m sending them to Wawa for Treat-yo-Self Friday.

I want to erase this day from the calendar or race through it with lightning speed.  For 30 years or so I have reached out to you on this day…in person and then on text with a Happy Birthday.  You considered it a national holiday – I threw you elaborate parties – and even after our split helped you honor yourself in ways big and small.  I laughed as you always took off from work – and now as I look at all that has happened, I am glad you did.  It is also not lost on me that since your birthday falls in October it is the start of the holiday season – and this year that start is one of dread.

Look, I’m a happy person…glad to be the parent who is alive for sure.  But their pain is so great I want it to be over with already.  I’ll carry them on my back, wipe their tears, give them hugs…but at the end of the day this isn’t very fun, in fact it is profoundly sad.  We all just miss you.

Over these last three months my heart has broken a thousand times for what you are missing – both for you missing it and them missing you –  there have been so many moments each day when my eyes have filled with tears, and other times when I have sobbed.  Drivers permits, college tours, campus drop offs, first days of school, new boyfriends (ughhh to that last one).  I know you aren’t missing it, I can feel your presence, somehow watching over us.  But to not be there with them, for them, and enjoying it all for yourself.

I know that wherever you are, and whatever the temperature, you have a beer in your hand and friends surrounding you.  Just know that we are all sitting here thinking of you..and wishing you were still with us.

Thank Goodness for Her…

Yesterday morning , as I went running off to a meeting, I grabbed my tan jacket for the first time this season and bolted out the door.   I realized there was a piece of paper in my pocket and came to see it was my Penn Hospital name tag from April 20, 2017 … the day I drove our daughters down to Philly so they could see you in ICU for the first time after your surgery.

I took a moment and decided this was a sign showing me the strength I had when you were diagnosed.  When we visited that day my plan was to carry everyone on my back through your inevitable recovery.  Yesterday that name tag was a reminder that even though these last two months didn’t go as I planned and have exhausted me (since that inevitable recovery did not happen) I had to find the strength and keep moving forward.  Little did I know, with that one little sticker, you were speaking to me…

Little did I realize that in a very small way you were giving me a very very clear message to think of you that afternoon when I needed direction.   You were reminding me that you still have say in the girls lives even though you are no longer here.  You knew I needed a reminder that your network, your people, your connections could help me – and I should reach out to them…and that you wanted me to.

Little did I know it was going to be a horrific afternoon, as I spent some time on the phone sharing yet again with others that you were gone…asking for their help to sort out yet another unusual situation created by your death.   Over these last two months so many things fall into this category and most have been uphill battles.  As the details unfolded and I wrapped my head around the options,   I knew I needed help… I had to make a call…but I was so unsure of who it should be to.    My two closest friends didn’t qualify, so I made a list of those who would.  The job at hand did not match the  candidates, no matter how qualified or honored they would be to step up.

And as I have taught myself to do over these last two months, and as that little name tag in my pocket reminded me to do,  I thought about what you would want me to do …and immediately knew the answer.

And so, I called her.

I called the woman you loved, the woman you planned to spend the rest of your life with…who stood by your side through the horror of the summer, and who was now alone.  I have been saying for months that I hope she eventually heals enough to move on…and find someone amazing and worthy of her own amazingness.  And yet here I was, calling and dragging her into our lives and a hole that only exists because you are no longer here.  I felt horrible.  But I knew in my heart you would tell me to reach out to her.  I needed her and more importantly,  our child needed her.

We chatted and caught up, she asked about the girls.  And then I told her about my current dilemma.  I explained I was calling because I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you would tell me to.

I was clear that she was my first call, but that there were others who would help.  I explained that she could absolutely say no and I would completely understand.  She was adamant, explained she thought she had mentioned it to you, and would do whatever I needed her to do. We commiserated over the situation, shared how sad we are that we have to even deal with it.  Honestly John,  I felt like I was talking to a sister-in-law who was dealing with her own grief but still so connected to our children.

There is a formal process she will now walk through with me,  some hoops to jump through, some very official  signing we will need to do together.  And honestly, I can not think of anyone better person suited for the job.  I have no doubt she will care as if she was her own.

John, the woman you love is standing right beside me,  helping us move forward as we still try to process your absence.  It is a testament to you John,  that your ex-wife can call your girlfriend and ask for a rather significant favor, and that we can work together out of our friendship and love for you to get us all through these obstacles.

Thanks for the message yesterday morning  my friend…it helped me find the prefect solution to an incredibly difficult situation.  As for the name tag, well I’m keeping it in the trench coat as a reminder that we have all the support we need to move forward, no matter how hard.

Still wishing every day that you were with us…we all do.

The Start… “I Have Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer”

On April 12, 2017 my life changed forever.  Those of you who have walked this path with me over the last several months have listened, cried, worried, hoped and prayed alongside our family. The writing I feel compelled to share now is a recount of my experience…the details of what we went through.

At the wake and the funeral so many people asked…what happened?  They hadn’t even heard he was sick and yet he was gone.  John R. Wengler, my ex-husband passed away on July 2, 2017.  Not even three months after his initial diagnosis.

So back to 4/12 – I was sitting in a conference at the Pyramid Club in Philly.  I knew that John was scheduled to be at UPenn medical that day.  He had found a lump on his neck and was meeting with a surgeon to have it removed.  Tests had shown it wasn’t cancer but the doctors were sure it still was.   Before I left that morning I commented to my husband that it wasn’t good that he still had the appointment.  Afterall, they always call with good news, you go in for the bad stuff.

At about 10:30 I heard from John with a text… “I have Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.”  My heart sank for my dear friend as I envisioned the surgery and radiation would wreck his summer – and John R. Wengler LOVED summer.  My next thoughts were kind of strange and ranged from “for the love of gosh John, cancer…like we need to now juggle this right now?  Our girls were settled after the move, life was good, I needed time to spend on my business”  I quickly realized I had never heard of Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer…so I looked it up….


What the hell?  I have a few friends who have had thyroid cancer…a little surgery, a little radiation and they are good to go.   But as I read in those first few minutes that he had a 10% chance of living a year, that treatment would be brutal, and most patients live just a few months…well I started to cry.

John was my friend, my co-parent.  What was he going to go through?  And what about our girls?  He was young…so young to get this…maybe his age would save him.  A myriad of questions filled my head as I continued to search on the small screen of the phone.  I texted my husband to let him know…and just continued to cry.

Just Keep Passing Out the Peanuts

On April 12, 2017 while attending a conference in Philadelphia I received a text from my ex-husband.  I knew he was also down in Philadelphia, his trip was to visit a surgeon at Penn hospital to remove a growing bump on his neck.

“I have anaplastic thyroid cancer.”

I originally thought, “oh jeeze, like me need this.  But whatever, we will get through it.”   Having never heard of this type of Thyroid Cancer I immediately looked it up.”  Tears filled my eyes, my hands started to shake, and stresses ripped through my body settling with that tingling feeling in my calves as I read…


I immediately asked him what stage he had…afterall, isn’t that one of the first thing they tell you?  I thought of our three teenage daughters…but as I dug a little deeper into the internet from my phone, I learned that this cancer is always stage 4.

As I look back on these last six weeks (it seems like I have been in a time warp, I have realized that at that moment John shared his news with me the plane our little family usually travels on started experiencing extreme turbulence.  And just like a flight attendant, my job would be to stay calm and just keep handing out the peanuts.

But let me tell you, that has not been easy.  He left his original surgery with a tracheotomy and was not able to speak for weeks.  Upon learning the results of surgery (which did not produce the miracle we hoped for), and many times since I have been the one to share news with our three daughters, and none of it has been particular good.  I was the one who told them the actual diagnosis, “dad is back in the hospital.”

I’m just now realizing the importance of writing about this.  My dear sister Susan reminded me of my gift and the cathartic impact.  Not to mention that I have a resounding message, that every divorced parent needs to hear…which will be shared with every post…

For the sake of your children make friends with your ex.  As divorced parents it is the greatest gift you can give to your children.

When You Need Help Starting A Business

Do you need help starting a business?  When I started my business I had an idea, expertise, a newly printed PhD.  I had my buddy Marcus Padulchick by my side (and even sitting on my shoulder), friends who would support me through anything, and a belief that I could build an empire.  With all of my grit and support I stumbled…many times.  I can remember hearing at a networking group that I needed a business plan…prospect management list and book keeper.  I searched for how-to’s while also managing a business that was taking off at warp speed.  I was struggling and I did not have to.

Don’t struggle through like I did…when you are starting a business your first stop should be the SBA.

Today I had the good fortune of attending the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce Women In Business Committee where Sonya Smith (Economic Development Specialist  at the SBA) told the group about the the services offered.  Over the years of building my business I have often said “they do not teach you about running a business in PhD school,”

Let me just state again, that SBA is a federal agency…the resources provided are free of charge for you.  So, when you have a business, starting a business, building your business (should I stay an LLC, how do I hire an employee) you can find resources to teach you what you need to know and make decisions.

Sonya Smith is an expert in helping small businesses grow in the greater Philadelphia area.  I have personally called Sonya with questions regarding the process of  getting certified as a woman owned business.  She is as kind of a person as she is knowledgeable and encouraging.  She helped me make a big decision and then encouraged me to run a workshop on social media at the SBA.

The SBA has many different programs, workshops and connections for you to take advantage of as you start and build your business including:

  1. Business Plans
  2. Capital
  3. Government Contracting
  4. Disaster Recovery
  5. Women Owned Business
  6. Veteran