July 2019: Denise's Letter

Warning: things got a little dramatic while putting together this month’s newsletter. I may have written (and deleted!) things like, “my head and heart just aren’t in the mood.” What a twit! Sometimes these things happen when you spend most of your time working solo. You might also forget to check your hair before rushing out the house — hypothetically, of course.

Maybe you already sense it’s been an odd summer. It’s been filled with joy, like spending a week in CO with dear friends from Centre College. And it’s been lonely, as I settle into my friend Tamara’s passing. I still reach for my phone daily to call her. Then I remember. Sometimes it makes me smile and sometimes I cry. Both are welcomed reminders of our friendship.

It’s also a reminder that friendship is one of life’s great treasures. So, this month I’m doing something a bit different. Keep reading…


P.S. Anyone else notice “doing something a bit different” is becoming the norm for this newsletter?

March 2019: Denise's Letter

There are two things on my mind as March comes to a close: Spring & Shared Adventures.

Spring in Central Texas means one thing – bluebonnets. Thank you Lady Bird Johnson for blanketing our roadsides with the much adored bluebonnet. Even after 23 years of living here I still gasp at my first bluebonnet sighting every year.

Shared Adventures – It’s what life is all about and how I try to fill my days. Adventures, big and small, with family, old friends, new friends and strangers along the way.

My Spring Challenge to you (& myself): Seek Adventure


February 2019: Denise's Letter

Truth Over Strategy is my approach to life. My true north. Lately I’ve been considering the definition of truth. We hold it to be an absolute, but is it?

He fudged the truth.     A little white lie.     A grain of truth.     The God’s honest truth.

Seems it’s anything but absolute.

My working theory is that we start with the easiest form of truth – Truth Lite, if you will – and we’re usually content to stop there. Easy. Safe. But maybe not the whole truth. So I’ve come up with a continuum of truth: The Truth >>> The Honest Truth >>> The Most Honest Truth

Here’s a simple example.

The truth is, I’m a good fit for this job.

The honest truth is, I can perform this job, but there are things I’ll need to learn.

The most honest truth is, I won’t always get it right, but I’ll work harder than anyone else to prove you made the right decision in hiring me.

As I’ve challenged myself to move through the degrees of truth I’m astonished at how uncomfortable the Most Honest Trust feels at times. And translating it into action places you smack in the middle of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure, which is exactly how Brene Brown defines vulnerability.

When you lead with your most honest truth there’s no place to hide. You’re all in.

On the other side of the risk is clarity. When you go all in, there’s a deep satisfaction in knowing the answer, the results, the response you get in return – even when they aren’t what you’d hoped for – are untainted by the politics of posturing and hedging. Pure. No wondering, What if?

It take a rebel heart to put it all on the line.

I’ll meet you there.


January 2019: Denise's Letter

Be your brother’s keeper.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Each child belongs to all of us.

I think it’s safe to assume we all want this kind of world — in our own homes, our neighborhoods, our schools, our work and across borders and languages and cultures and religions.

Then WHY is it so hard? Why do we so often fail?

Is it simply (tragically) the human condition? Surely not. I’m holding out hope that our true nature is not one of greed and pettiness and closed-mindedness. == Maybe that’s the point. To place our bets on hope ==

Not hope the passive noun. Not hope that someone else will do it. No. We need hope the verb. Action.

Without action it’s dreamy idealism. In contrast, Hope in Action declares: I care enough to do something.

Let us all be examples of Hope In Action.


December 2018: Denise's Letter

My first newsletter. Whoa. I’ve dreamed about this for a long time, but I’m not sure I ever really believed it would happen. Yet, here we are.

There’s a lot of pressure (from myself) to make it perfect. It won’t be and I’ve settled into deep acceptance that perfection is not what I’m after — ever, from myself or others.

I don’t want you to be perfect. I want you to be yourself — your true self — soaking in the present and looking back for clues on ways to make tomorrow just a little bit better.

And…that’s what this whole experiment is about. Showing up. Learning. Listening. Inviting others in. The Examined Life.

Today, I’m showing up. Just as I am. Imperfect. Enthusiastic. Expecting the unexpected.

I’m so glad you are here.