I first crossed paths with Jackie Woodside when I discovered her book, Calming the Chaos, A Soulful Guide to Managing Your Energy Rather Than Your Time.
This was during a time when I was juggling kids, jobs, travel, and my dad battling cancer. I found calm through meditation, and by eliminating stuff off my daily plate. Yet, even today, the ever-overflowing plate is a sign that I need to pick up the book again.
Instead, I’ve picked up Jackie’s brand new book, The Money Vibe.
Her book has appeared in my life at just the right time! Joe and I sold our five-bedroom house and downsized to a townhouse near his work. Abundance is the theme this year–both with a content heart and a growing bank account–so The Money Vibe has showed up right on time.
If you’ve struggled with money, this book is for you. If you want to attract a positive money vibe into your life no matter where you are on your journey, you’ll appreciate what Jackie shares in her book.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Jackie and talk about her books and her life–it was a fun, casual, unscripted conversation!
For more information about Jackie’s courses and coaching: Jackie Woodside
Karen Putz is known as The Passion Mentor. She specializes in helping people unwrap their passion at any age. She’s the author of Unwrapping Your Passion, Creating the Life You Truly Want
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What does it mean to “have a passionate year?”
It means a year of many moments filled with joy and bliss. Of doing what you love…and loving what you do.
Even when things aren’t going well.
A friend of mine recently posted that she couldn’t wait for 2017 to get out of her life and begin a whole new year anew.
Yet, here’s the thing…
At any given moment in your life, you can decide to live differently.
You can change the thoughts that are floating around in your head.
You can change the way you see things.
You can change your perspective.
You can choose your attitude.
You can create your actions.
You can pivot in a new direction.
The end of one year is a wonderful opportunity to reflect back. What were your best moments? What accomplishments stand out? What was not so pleasant? What hurt?
It’s all too easy to want to put the worse behind us and look forward to a better future ahead. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the many mentors I’ve had is this: if you keep repeating the same routines, you’ll end up with the same old life.
Do you want this brand new year to be the same repeat of last year?
Or even better?
Knowing what you DON’T want can better point you in the direction of what you DO want.
The first half of 2017 was the second half of my family’s downsizing journey. We moved from a five-bedroom house to a townhouse. On one hand, the convenience has been really nice–no more lawn work. We have a little plot of garden that we can grow tomatoes, herbs, and flowers and even that is mulched yearly by the service.
On the other hand, it’s been quite the adjustment space-wise–my office is in my bedroom. The commute is short, but it sure is tough to write when the hubby is sleeping nearby.
The move freed us up to travel more. We took an amazing cruise to several islands, including my favorite: Belize. My youngest son and I took a trip down to South Africa–another wonderful highlight of the year. I added Minnesota to my Barefooting 50 States for my 50’s quest.
And the very best part of last year?
The birth of Unwrapping Your Passion, Creating the Life You Truly Want.
Yes, people are actually doing the activities, creating new habits, and living with passion.
Over the summer, I gave my friend Edie Iles a copy of the book. She was just a few chapters in when she reached out and told me that she remembered she had a passion for dancing. She had buried it for so long that she forgot about it. Right then and there, she signed up for dance lessons again.
Here’s what she shared:
They say timing is everything and this book sure came into my life at just the right time! I was recently divorced and was not feeling good about where I was in life. My good friend, Karen Putz gave me her book, Unwrapping Your Passion.
After reading the first few chapters, my passion for dancing was rediscovered. I had not been dancing in years. I was out of practice, had no dance partner and not sure where to begin. Unwrapping Your Passion inspired me to think about how I felt free and uninhibited and full of life while dancing. I got excited just thinking about those feelings.
Then, out of nowhere, I received a message on LinkedIn requesting a connection from a former dance partner I had 15 years ago! It was as if the universe had read my mind and provided me with my desire! Bill and I reconnected and have been dancing every weekend since.
I highly recommend reading this book and Unwrapping Your Passion!!
So here we are, at the start of a brand new year. It’s the time of year when people start out with new energy, and new intentions. New thoughts, new attitudes, new habits, and new actions will result in a PASSIONATE year. One of the things I do is to look over my Life List. It is always so fun to see what has been experienced from the list and add more to the list. A Life List is everything you want to be, do, and have in your lifetime. It’s a way of LIVING, of experiencing life in the way that only YOU can.
If you’d like some help in planning a passionate life, I offer a 30-minute Passion session over the phone or via text chat–whichever you prefer. Simply email me at: karen at agelesspassions dot com and put “Passion Session” in the subject line. You’ll be on your way to making THIS year a passionate one!
Karen Putz is known as The Passion Mentor. She helps people unwrap their passion at ANY age. She’s the author of Unwrapping Your Passion, Creating the Life You Truly Want.
The email came out of the blue.
“I wanted to let you know that we are using quotes and messages from your book in our Winter Play on December 21st to fit the theme ‘Life’s a gift, unwrap the message. I know you live out in Chicago, but wanted to share the invitation with you, just in case you were able to attend. If you can’t attend, maybe you could VP with us in the near future just so that the students can put a face to your amazing work. Lastly, we wanted to thank you for the courage it took for you to write this book (Unwrapping Your Passion) and for sharing it with us. We were inspired!”
The email came from Heather Hapke, a transition teacher at the Rocky Mountain Deaf School. Heather came to a book signing for Unwrapping Your Passion at the Barnes & Noble in Golden, Colorado back in September. She shared bits and pieces from the book with her students.
December 21. It was so close to Christmas. It would be crazy to go…
But…I’m a big believer in synchronicity. I believe things happen for a reason. It’s a lesson I learned from the many mentors I learned from when I wrote Unwrapping Your Passion. Opportunities show up in our life and when they are meant to be, they fall into place.
So I reached out to Southwest Airlines and explained the opportunity. Go, they said. We’ll make it happen for you.
It was a beautiful morning when we arrived at Midway to board our flight. My oldest son David was flying from Washington D.C. and meeting us out there. At the last minute, the hubby had to stay home–he was recovering from surgery and still not quite steady enough on his feet to attend.
The Rocky Mountain Deaf School was the brainchild of Cliff Moers, the Director of the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The school began in 1997 with just 11 students. The current school was built in 2014 and today, it is home to nearly 70 students, providing instruction in American Sign Language and English.
Our first stop was in the high school to meet up with Heather and talk to the students about #Passion. The students eagerly gave us a tour of the building and it was easy to see that they took a lot of pride in their school. Every inch of the space was designed specifically for deaf students, by a deaf architect working with a design firm. For example, the floor in a social area is designed so that students can stomp their feet to get the attention of another student, even from a distance. The classrooms are arranged in a semi-circle so that students can communicate easily. The hallways are wide and open–so that signs can be seen from several areas.
Rocky Mountain Deaf School is not a residential school–students are bused to and from home each day. All of the staff are fluent in American Sign Language and the majority of staff are deaf.
The play featured students from preschool to fifth grade. My co-worker from Hands & Voices, Jeannene, introduced me to a young girl who played a Lion. As I watched the student on stage, she confidently advocated to have one of the lights moved as it was blinding her and her classmates during their performance. The ability to advocate for oneself is a coveted skill and this student owned it.
Afterwards, I signed a few books and donated the rest to RMDS to use as a fundraiser. The next day, we took a tour of Flagstaff mountain before heading home to celebrate Christmas.
“I have something to tell you,” my sister said. “Aunt Gertie had a baby and placed him for adoption.”
The news was quite a surprise, for I was in my early 20’s and had no idea that my aunt had a baby many years ago.
“I want to find him,” I said.
I didn’t have much information to turn to — I just knew that the baby was a boy and I knew the name of the hospital he was born at.
Several years ago, a group of researchers from the National Institute of Health came to my house and took blood tests of my family members. All of us were born with normal hearing and several of us lost our hearing in various ways. The researchers uncovered a very rare mitochondrial mutation — we were the third family in the world identified with this hereditary condition.
“The gene passes from females to all children,” the researchers told us.
As I pondered the gene’s path through our family tree, I realized that Aunt Gertie’s son had the gene. I started asking deaf and hard of hearing friends in the St. Louis area if they were adopted.
One evening, one of my sisters was talking to a cousin and the cousin casually mentioned that Aunt Gertie’s son had called another cousin. He was looking for his birth mother.
“What’s his name?” I asked.
Luckily, my cousin had written his name down and kept it in a drawer.
I quickly Googled his name and on impulse, I added “deaf.”
As I stared at his picture, I realized the reason my cousin kept the information a secret from us.
Brian looked exactly like my dad.
Which would make him…my half brother.
I quickly looked up his phone number and debated whether or not to call him. It was 9 p.m. on a Sunday night. I just knew I couldn’t wait another day. I dialed his number.
Brian and I spent about 30 minutes talking on the phone, both in shock and awe. He had spent years wondering about his birth family and now he was able to get the answers he was seeking.
Brian and I texted back and forth every day. We discovered we had so much in common — water skiing (he even tried to barefoot as a teen), triathlons (I had just signed up for my first one), a love for the outdoors, photography, leadership, and…food. To top it off, he graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology, the same college that my three kids attended.
And…Brian is deaf. Like me, he began losing his hearing in elementary school. He learned sign language at RIT. He obtained bilateral cochlear implants several years ago.
Even though Brian looked just like my father and my brothers, we wondered how we could determine the genetic connection without any doubt. My father had passed away, there was no way to confirm paternity.
We got lucky. A very kind counselor at the adoption agency went through the records and pulled out Brian’s file. He read through the file word for word. There, in the files, my aunt confirmed my father as Brian’s father.
This story has an incredible, happy ending. My mother embraced Brian as both her nephew and my father’s son. Just days before we told her the news of finding Brian, she had been thinking about her sister’s son. (We never, however, told her of our conversations with the adoption agency and the news we had confirmed.) I believe the timing was so very right — my mom was in a place where she could love him with all of her heart.
We love Brian as if he had always been with us. We’ve gotten to know his wife, daughter, and his mother. We’ve shared vacations, weekends together, and funerals. Growing up, we were a family of five siblings — and now we are six.
Karen Putz is known as The Passion Mentor. For a daily dose of passion, follow her on Instagram at The Passion Academy. For even more passion, hop over to her site: Ageless Passions. To unwrap your own passion, grab the book, Unwrapping Your Passion.
“Are there any alligators in this lake?”
I was down in Florida, about to take a barefoot water ski lesson from a two-time World Barefoot Champion. The thought of alligators didn’t cross my mind until that moment. I was about to get into a lake that averaged 600 alligators per square mile…
And I was scared.
“Alligators don’t come near the boat because the engine scares them away,” my instructor reassured me.
My passion for the sport of barefoot water skiing was about to outweigh fear. I put my feet on the water, stood up, and felt a joy that had been buried for too many years.
When you do something you’re passionate about, you are willing to challenge yourself to do more than you ever thought you could do — you step way, way, way out of your comfort zone when you live on the edge.
I was hooked, but there was just one problem — the more lessons I took, the more the fear escalated. When I floated in the water while waiting for the boat to pick me up, I imagined hungry 13-foot alligators slithering underneath.
Then the nightmares began.
At three in the morning, I was jolted awake by the image of an alligator with a wide-open mouth about to snap down on me.
I contemplated giving up the lessons and skiing in lakes that were alligator free — but that would mean giving up passion over fear.
“You need to face your fears,” the World Barefoot Champion told me. “You need to see them for the magnificent creatures they are.”
“Are you crazy! I can’t do that!”
I shuddered at the very thought.
All fear stems from the imagined and the unknown. The human mind is very powerful in dreaming up scenarios that feed on fear. Yet, the only way around fear is smack dab through it.
And here’s the thing: You attract what you fear. How do I know this? Because alligators started showing up in my life left and right.
A few years later, I started barefooting with Ken Cowles — who is known as The Gator Guy. He’s a state licensed alligator trapping agent. He’s the guy you call when a wayward gator gets stuck in your pool.
“We need to conquer that fear you harbor,” he told me one day. Then he hauled out a ten-foot gator and made me sit on it.
I was shaking for a long, long time afterwards.
The act of getting upfront close to the very thing that I feared most was cathartic. I discovered I had the courage to do the very thing I was extremely frightened of.
There’s a part of you that comes alive when you do something that you think you cannot do and you get to the other side of it.
If you’re holding back in life because of fears that you harbor within you, it’s time to get clear on what you WANT in your life, not what you fear.
Choose passion over fear.