I’m not sure I can connect this blog to my business in any way–but I have a need to write about the new addition to my family. My dog adoption came quite unexpectedly a few weeks ago.  When I was on the treadmill warming up for my exercise class, one of the other participants looked over and asked me if I would be interested in a lovable little dog.  Much to my amazement, I heard myself saying, “what kind?”

When Holly said she was a mix–some Chihuahua–I knew I had to check it out. I had fallen in love with my daughter’s dog at Christmas time when she adopted her Chihuahua. Before that, I had never considered getting a dog–matter of fact, I would often say, “No more animals after my cat dies.”  I suppose if I had hesitated longer after the “offer,” I would have backed out–but somehow it seemed like the right thing to do. I felt like I was so wise when I agreed to take her on “trial.”  Yeah, right–one day I was “sold.”

I haven’t had a dog since I was a kid. I’m sure I’m doing everything wrong–except loving and spoiling her. Everything I have learned thus far was from my friends and neighbors, Kathy and Carla.  They said something about how they haven’t seen me smile so much until I got Josie.

Boy, has my life changed! I now know where all the dogs are in the neighborhood–and remember each of their names.  I am reading up on dog training tips and even bought a book by the Dog Whisperer.  I have adjusted my schedule away from home and pay attention to how long I need to be out.  I now get how a dog differs from a cat.  I knew my cats were low-maintenance, but a dog is so much more interactive than a cat.  The good news is that Luna, my cat and Josie, have developed a loveless tolerance of each other.

Josie is house-broken, enjoys her walks and is very lovable (I’m just saying).  But she has some issues.  She and I quickly bonded and when I leave the house, she cries (aka barks)–so my mother guilt has resurfaced big time.  And she’s frightened of most men.  I am having a dog trainer come to train me next week.  So hopefully, that situation will improve.

Now in addition to my list of qualities my someday Mr Wonderful needs to have, I have to add to the list,” must love my dog (and vice versa).”  Wish me luck!

I loved Roy Rogers when I was a kid. I would fantasize that he would adopt me like he did some of his other children. I would spend hours thinking about what to call my horse and dream what it would be like to live on the ranch. Roy would be the perfect father and Dale–the perfect mom. They wouldn’t be at all–like my real parents.

My parents weren’t like any of those families I watched on TV when I was young. I often wondered what my friend’s families were like. They all seemed happy and normal. I knew instinctively, “what happens in the family, stays in the family.” Secrets were buried—but certainly not forgotten.

Don’t leave home without it. It’s been a life-long journey to discover just how much my early childhood affected my life. Sure, my baggage arrived with me when I got married, but I hadn’t realized all the baggage I was lugging around when I worked.

My mom wanted to raise a child that everyone liked–an expectation that haunted me throughout my life. When I sensed that a manager didn’t like me and nothing I did could change that, I allowed it to destroy my self esteem. After all, I failed my mission.

Additionally, I lived in fear that if I made a mistake, I would no longer be liked–I wouldn’t be perfect. I took everything personally. The larger the company I worked for, the more helpless I felt when I couldn’t make the changes that “should” be made—triggering those buried feelings when I felt helpless about changing my family’s situation.

Crisco in the ‘frig. Not only did I mirror my mother in her values and ways of thinking, but also in other not-so-obvious ways. When I was in college, a bunch of my friends rented a cottage on the Jersey shore. We felt so grown-up by having our own place to ourselves—including doing our own cooking.

As a few of my friends were making dinner, they began looking through all the cupboards–where on earth was the Crisco? When I finally showed up on the scene, I quickly pointed to the refrigerator. Everyone laughed (except me) and I was stunned to realize that no one else put their Crisco in the refrigerator. I quickly read the label to prove I was right, but to no avail. It didn’t need refrigeration.

This was one of my first reminders how many things we do on automatic pilot and don’t even realize where we learn them. BTW, when I asked my mother why she put the Crisco in the refrigerator she said, “So the ants can’t get in.”

The gift that keeps on giving. There were many things I promised myself I would never do to my own kids. Sure, my parents had issues, but it would be some time later when I reflected how their issues shaped who I became. As close to perfection as I am (ha, ha), I am sure that despite my good intentions, I’m sure I have passed down some of my foibles to my own daughters.

I remember a co-worker of mine back in the ’80’s sharing how he and his wife had made a commitment that as they raised their children, they would make sure they had good self-esteem. At the time of this conversation, he was struggling with his daughter’s anorexia.

Huh? Perhaps you’ve had the occasion to be in the same place at the same time with someone and the other person remembers the “scene” totally different. It sometimes makes you scratch your head and think, “Did I miss something here?” Happenings like this demonstrate how we perceive events through our own lens.

And so, it seems impossible to get through life unscathed without any “issues;” without any baggage. But despite the memories we wished we could forget and inheriting less-than-positive behaviors and mind-traps–most of us are survivors.

Mom’s legacy. The older I get the more I seem to channel my mother. I hear her whispering in my ears and cheering me on. When I was afraid I would never learn to drive, she told me, “Look at all the people driving. If they can do it, so can you. You’re as smart as they are.”

My mother was the one who “made me” take piano lessons when I was five which has brought so much joy to my life. My mom quit school in eighth grade to go to work, so it was she who made sure I went to college—the first in my family.

When I first got married and money was always “tight,” it was mom who would put an unexpected check in a letter with a note to spend it on a steak or pizza. I knew no matter what, she would support me, through good or bad and loved me unconditionally.

I remember Mama. The things I used to make fun of my mother about are the very things I miss. I would get so mad at her when she gave away some of my “stuff” when one of my little cousins would visit. Now I find I have inherited her giving spirit.

I hated her Blue Willow dishes but treasure my own little Blue Willow tea set (from when I was a kid) because it reminds me of Mom. My mom always put tissues in her apron or “house dress.” Perhaps that’s another hereditary behavior as well, because I do that myself (not in a house dress)–leaving them between the couch cushions or in kitchen. (It drives my kids nuts too!)

My mother couldn’t carry a tune and I’m sorry to say I used to ask her not to sing in church (if I was next to her). Now, whenever I hear the favorite hymns she loved (i.e. In the Garden), tears quickly come to my eyes. I can still hear her singing “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” (usually after a few drinks) and I wished she would sing it one more time.

The good news. Our experiences shape who we are–but we can change who we become. We are not victims. Sure it’s not easy to undo some behaviors or thought patterns, but if we become more conscious, we can create new patterns. We can learn to live with duality—not condoning bad behavior; but loving and forgiving at the same time.

I was 29 when my mother died. I wish I could tell her, “I love you,” one more time — and that I know now she did the best she could. I wonder what she’d say about how I lived my life and who I’ve become–as of today.

I’m one of those people who regularly sets goals and writes to-do lists.  There are many goals I achieve simply by having patience and taking enough steps.  Last week, when I attended a business retreat given by Michelle Pippin, I was reminded that some goals sometimes require faith you can achieve it, and by following the process.

Like weight.  Years ago, I remember after having my third baby and being challenged with losing that baby weight (I was never like all those famous people who lose all the weight within minutes of giving birth.)  I had been following the Weight Watcher diet (again), but this time, nothing seemed to work.  Everything I read kept saying, “diet AND exercise, diet AND exercise.  This was NOT what I wanted to hear.

I was used to dieting, but was not “into” exercising.  After reading an article that said if you can’t do 30 minutes, then start with 15–I reluctantly admitted I could do 15. My plan was less than noble. My thought process was that I would add exercise to my dieting for 6 weeks (I figured that was a respectable amount of time) and when “it” didn’t work, I had the ammunition to march down to my doctor’s office and say that something is wrong–give me a pill or do something to magically make my weight disappear (this was before liposuction).

I set out to walk around the neighborhood.  I timed myself, then tried to beat my last record time.  Soon I began to walk a driveway and then run to the next driveway.  I kept it up and eventually, I saw the results I wanted.  (I wish I could say that was the last time I had that losing weight challenge–but that’s another story, I mean–blog!) I

Now that I have started my own business, I am trying to discover the the right process to achieve the results I want.  The challenge this time is to figure out what the right process is.  There are many people who swear they have the answer and eager person that I am to “succeed,” have tried many of them.  Maybe someday, I’ll be able to tell you what the right formula is.  Or, perhaps, like weight loss, there is no easy or magical “fix.”

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost three years when I first set eyes on Asheville and let my heart lead me here. It was at the NC Center for Creative Retirement weekend about relocating in retirement (held every Memorial weekend) where I made my decision that this is where I belonged.

I remember when I was waiting for each of my children to be born. Although I was excited to be pregnant, I couldn’t imagine how this new little person would change my life.   Once the baby was born, I couldn’t imagine life without her (I had all girls).  The same happened when I was thinking of moving.  I KNEW what my life was like in Pennsylvania–but my new life–blank.  It was scary.

Now looking at the good friends I’ve made and the wonderful times I’ve had here–it’s hard to imagine what my life would have been like had I chose to stay where I was. It’s been a gradual evolution.  At first everything is new–from where to put your shoes in your new home–to finding where the grocery store–to meeting your new neighbors.  There were days when it can be exhausting. Before long, however, new routines became part of my life.

So much of it has to do with attitude.  As you approach your new life, do you think of it as an adventure or filled with fear? Are you open to exploring different experiences or are you constantly comparing what you used to have and thinking about what you have given up? In every situation, there are trade-offs. Hopefully, your new life ends up on the plus side of positives. If not, you can always make another change.  People are so afraid of making a mistake that they don’t take any risks. Life is full of lessons and by taking a step, you have learned more about what works or doesn’t work.

It probably started when  I lived those 30 years in Rochester, New York–my dream to move south.  I can remember back in the 70’s, one of my good friends had been talking about her former neighbors who had moved to North Carolina.  It immediately captured my imagination and interest.  For many years after that, when someone talked about that area of the country, I was all ears.  But I didn’t have the opportunity to visit there until 2000.

I would often talk about moving to a warmer climate–but never bothered to narrow it down.  I figured I would probably get a job that would take me there–maybe North Carolina, South Carolina or even Georgia. That job never materialized.   I enjoyed looking through Where to Retire magazines and trying to imagine myself in one of the featured communities. But there was still time–I had to save more before I could ever think of retiring.

Well, as the saying goes, “We plan; God laughs.”  Because in 2006, I was laid off.

One of my first decisions was to attend a Coaching certification program to become a Life Coach.  My plan (see the above paragraph) was that while I was building my business, I would get another human resources position–surely that was the most responsible alternative.  I couldn’t continue to live in my current home without my corporate salary so within a few months, I put my house up for sale.  Once it sold, I would either move to where my new job was located or move into a temporary apartment.

Despite an active job search, I never came close to being hired in human resources.  Once I received my certification, I started thinking, “Now what?”  I had a passing thought about moving south–but I quickly dismissed it.  The thought of identifying exactly where I wanted to live seemed so over-whelming.

But that thought kept reoccurring and finally I allowed myself to consider, “Well, what would it take to make that decision?”  At first I half-heartedly started going through those Where to Retire magazines that I  saved for the past 7 years.  I cut out any article or photos of communities that looked possible.  I did further research on the internet and on the phone.  Eventually, I decided to take a trip to visit a few of the areas I had narrowed down.

When I drove up and saw the Blue Ridge mountains, I knew I was home.  Three months and several leaps of faith later–I was there.

The reactions of my friends to my decisions shook me up quite a bit.  I didn’t know anyone who had been in a similar situation.  And without exception, everyone’s eyes would roll back and they would comment how they could never move to an area where they didn’t know anyone.  After hearing it so often, I started wondering what was wrong with me that I was able to make such a “drastic” move. Eventually, I learned that people were sharing  their own limitations.  Many of them defending why they couldn’t move–but wished they could.  It was about them, not me.

After I settled into my new home in Asheville, NC, I knew I wanted to help other singles relocate to the home of their dreams.  I created a coaching business called Relocating Single.  This continues to be one of my passions and I want to help others evaluate whether a move might be the right decision for them.

Does my story resonate with you?  Have you been thinking of moving to a town by the ocean? In the mountains? Or maybe you’re looking for any place where you can start a whole new life.  Perhaps you are ready to speak with someone who can help you:

  • Bring your dream into clearer focus
  • Slow down the emotional roller coaster
  • Calm the panic attacks and reduce your anxiety

You do not have to be alone at this exciting time in your life.  I can bring my own challenging and rewarding relocation experiences to our sessions and gently guide you through the process. Call for a free consultation to explore whether coaching is for you.  Or send for your complementary copy of the 7 Keys to Relocating in Mid-Life by sending an email to jane@janefalter.com

Perhaps it’s because I’m single and have complete freedom to organize my life–but I really enjoy those books with a daily reading.  I keep them on my kitchen table and read them as I eat my breakfast. I’m amazed how many times something that I read will talk right to me.  My all-time favorites have been Deep Breath of Life by Alan Cohen and Wealthy Spirit by Chellie Campbell.   I just received Alan’s new book, A Daily Dose of Sanity and after reading the former books several times, it’s nice to have a new “stories” to read.

Today I read Alan’s post about 86,400–moments in a day.  He challenges us to consider how we spend each moment of our day.  The last few weeks, I’ve been getting reminders to be more intentional about how I spend my time.  Although I feel I am self motivated and very determined, I am starting to question whether I am working on the right things and if there are ways I  could make better use of my time.  I suppose it’s like keeping a food journal when you want to lose weight.  It’s those tiny little “cheats” we don’t pay attention that keep us fat.  Time to tighten up.

How are your 86,400 moments going?  Are there ways you can make better use of them?

Someone recommended I read the book, God Winks.  I soon discovered it is a series of books that shares fascinating stories of real people who experienced fascinating coincidences in their life.  Is it chance, is it luck or is it God communicating with you?

Like many people, I always want to get a definitive answer to my prayers.  There are times when I get a sign–but I find myself talking to myself that it is simply my imagination.  Let’s face it, none of us will truly know the answer to any of this speculation until we get to heaven.  Unfortunately, once that time comes–we can’t share the answer to that secret.

Now after reading several of the God Wink books, I am taking pleasure and comfort in remembering the God Winks I’ve already experienced. There are lots and lots of coincidences that have come and gone and I dismissed them.  Like the many times I think of someone and they call me or I get a card from that very person.  Interesting and notable, but quickly forgotten.

But then there are other situations when we realize that something different has happened.  It is what C.G. Jung called “synchroncity.”  It is when there is a sequence of events that occur in close proximity to each other and are related  through some kind of noticeable similarity.  It is totally subjective, but it is a coincidence that someone finds meaningful.

One of those types of coincidences that stands out for me occurred when I was planning to relocate from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.  I fell in love with the mountains and fell in love with the first house I walked into (it was absolutely perfect).  Although I put down a deposit for this new house, I hadn’t sold my old home.  Gulp.  I took a big leap of faith that it would all work out in the end, but there were several weeks where I was nervous about owning two homes (and no, I could not afford two homes!)

Eventually, I decided that no matter what, I was going to move to NC to attend a Leadership workshop and decided to make a reservation at an Extended Stay hotel (because my new home wouldn’t be done for another 3 weeks).  The hotel reservation was made for  September 10th.  Two days later, I got a call from my Realtor with an offer for my house.  The closing date requested by the new buyer was… September 10th.  To me, it was a definite God Wink that I was headed in the right direction.

After reading some of the stories shared by Squire Rushnell and remembering my own, I am not going to waste any future time worrying about whether it is a sign or just luck. I am simply going to smile and believe that these coincidences are indeed answers and guides for my direction.  And let it go at that.

What about you–what coincidences have you had in your life? How were these signs answers to your prayers?

I let my fears stop me for 10 years from becoming a Life Coach.  Once I was laid off in 2006, I knew it was now or never to go back to school for coaching.  Today, I have been able to do things I never thought were possible some 15 years ago.  Since that time, there seems to be an never-ending stream of comfort zone-busting opportunities.

I recently noticed a pattern–it usually starts this way.  I volunteer to do something that is right for my business or my own growth.  Then, panic sets in and my brain goes numb.   Despite acknowledging all I have been able to achieve and/or overcome, the same ol’ fears continue to bubble up–being afraid of making a mistake or being a failure.  It’s an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I can see why many people are not able to push through the fears, they run away or ignore such opportunities altogether.

But after a few hours or sometimes a few days, what do you know–I am able to rise to the occasion and come up with the next step or an answer–whatever is needed.  I wonder what it would take so that I can just skip that deep pit despair feeling and just move to action?  Maybe that will be improbable, but I can certainly shorten the time I spend in panic.  It’s worth a try.

I found this in my files.  Seems appropriate for Thanksgiving.  The author is Unknown.

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.  If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times, during those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.  They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

When I was five years old, a piano arrived at my house.  My mom decided I was going to play it.  Within a short time, I started taking lessons from Mrs. Pierson. I guess I made my mom happy, because I liked playing and eventually, got pretty good at it.  Of course like most kids (and many adults), what I didn’t like–was practicing.  But I stuck with it and continued with Mrs. Pierson for more than 10 years.

I’m amazed how the decision to buy a piano so many years ago would make such an impact on my life.  I was often asked to play for my class and was even asked to play for my eighth grade graduation.  Looking back, these opportunities gave me moments in the spotlight and helped my self esteem.  When I was in high school, being able to read music helped me in singing in the chorus.  I never had a solo-type voice, but was good enough to make a select chorus.  When I was in college, I sang at a coffee house with my friends and even learned to play the guitar.  Music became a good social entry for me.

When I first got married, it became difficult to find a place to put my piano and after having kids, couldn’t find time to practice when they weren’t sleeping.  Eventually, I gave the piano away and that chapter of my life was closed.

Well, maybe not.  I never really lost the dream of owning a piano again.  Some 25 years later I got my chance.  I received a lump sum bonus and decided to buy myself a baby grand piano.  I was so unsure that I would ever play again, that I bought a disklaver which is a modern day player piano.  I was certainly humbled  as I quickly realized I had to start right from the beginning.  I went to the music store and got myself one of those Thompson Piano Books that start you from square one.

After several weeks, I was able to progress and was able to get myself to a pretty good level.  But I wanted more.  I wanted to be able to play the same piece I played at my eight grade graduation.  If I was going to do that, I had to get a piano teacher and make a commitment. The first time I played for my new teacher, she saw potential.  Eventually, I was able to play that piece and many more.

I’ll never forget the look on my daughter’s faces (now in their late 20’s) when I played for them for the first time.  Although they knew I had played–they were shocked to hear their “old mom” could  make some really good music.  It was a good day for sure!  I soon joined my church’s choir and I was again surrounding myself with music.

Since then, other than playing for friends and family, I hadn’t done much with the piano. Sure, there were times when I had thought perhaps if all else failed, I could play the piano at Nordstrom’s.   Who knows, maybe I will someday! But then in September, I played the piano for a memorial service for my good friends, Adele and Jack, who were killed in a car accident.  I figured if I could get through the emotion of that terrible time and get through my piece, I could get through anything!

So, now I’m signed up to play again at our church’s Healing Service and look forward to other piano gigs at church. I’ve just joined the choir here at my NC church–again, music surrounds me.

While I sometimes catch myself wondering how proficient I could have been if I had continued playing all my life, I am pleased I have renewed this passion again.  So often we put away our talents and gifts on a shelf focusing on more practical skills.  Maybe like me, you are able to light the spark again and bring some pure joy back to your life. Perhaps it’s art or writing poems.  It’s not too late–reignite that spark again!

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Although I had your business card for a few weeks, I hesitated calling you until one day, I just felt inspired to contact you. Am I glad I did! After applying for literally hundreds of jobs this past year with not even one interview…after sending the résumé you created for me, not only did I get the interview, but I got the job! I feel that God inspired me to move forward and sent you into my life when I needed it the most. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
—J. Bloomfield, Asheville, NC


So, thought I'd brighten your day!  My new supervisor complimented my resume. She said she liked the summary at the top. She also commented that she wasn't positive that my background would've jumped out as a perfect match, but it was written in a way that highlighted my skills as a match for her needs. The resume you wrote for me did much more than any of those things, however. It changed the way I view myself.  It supported me, and gave me a confidence that I was lacking at that time. When I first saw your draft, I didn't immediately connect with it, yet I knew it was all truth. It grew on me, or I grew into it. By the time I walked into those last 2 interviews, I had a new confidence. Something deeper than just knowing I could do the job. I knew I was the right choice. That confidence, that knowing, attracted those jobs to me as surely as my credentials well presented.  It was both, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. 
—J. Everson, Bloomfield, KY


I just wanted to write and let you know how much I appreciate your help with my resume. It worked!!! I have had 3 interviews, a step I did not reach before. While I have not received a job offer yet, I know it is just a matter of time before I find a position that is the right fit. Your help with the resume made all the difference!
—L. McLamb Asheville


I have built my business through satisfied clients so I cherish testimonials. One of the most stand-out testimonials that was given to me was shared by a client I coached to help her with an upcoming interview.

This client told me later, that she had met a woman at a community event. Jen shared about looking for a position and was telling her about the "biz coach" who prepped her for the interview. The other woman mentioned how she found this excellent person to do her resume and that the résumé itself was highly complemented on in her interview. And best yet, she got the job in the end! In a few minutes, they deducted they were both talking about the same person…ME!