Friday, December 19, 2008

Books and Movies

It's not everyday a book you authored, or in this case, co-authored, gets turned into a movie. But recently that became a reality for me. The response to the Front of the Class movie that aired on CBS on Dec. 7 as a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation has been overwhelming. As co-author of the book, my part in this was very small. However, I still received over 900 movie related emails and my web site was inundated with hits. It is very gratifying to know that the words Brad Cohen and I wrote about his inspiring life have touched and motivated so many people. It really is a wonderful feeling to know you made a positive difference in someone's life. Close to twelve million people watched the movie and I am sure many more will learn about Brad's wonderful message when the movie is rerun.

This is all importance for several reasons. 1) Brad is the kind of guy who believes his cup is overflowing, even though he has Tourette syndrome. In Brad’s words, never give up on your dream, no matter what, because if his dreams can come true, then yours can, too. 2) There were a lot of people who worked hard to make first the book, and now the movie, a success. So gathering a great team of people around you for support is important, no matter what your goals. 3) Never compromise on quality. Everything about Front of the Class, book and movie, has been first class, and I know everyone who has worked on the book or the movie is proud of their contribution.

Friday, December 12, 2008


So the turkey I cooked for Thanksgiving turned out okay even though the stove and oven caught on fire and I had to throw flour all over it. Thank goodness I had wrapped the turkey in tin foil because the nice fireman who came to my house said the chemical stuff they sprayed all over the stove and oven to be sure the fire was out probably wasn't good for the turkey. He also said the scorch marks on the walls might come out if I leave a baking soda paste on it overnight.

I learned something else new on Thanksgiving. You know those refridgerated dinner rolls you heat in the oven? They explode if you put them in the microwave.

It must be obvious by now that I am not a cook. I have tried and tried, but it is not something I do well, no matter how much thought and effort I put into it. For me it is a good reminder that we all have strengths and weaknesses and it is okay for a person to not do something well. That's because we each have many things we can do very well.

I think it is important to focus on the many things we each can do, rather than the few things we can't. And whenever I am reminded with firetrucks and smelly chemical foam that i am not a cook, I am filled with gratitude that I have food to cook and a home to cook it in. I may not have a stove to cook it on right now, but that is a temporary problem.

Here's hoping that during this holiday season eveyone finds many things they excel at, and even more things they are grateful for.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Book Tour

A lot of people have asked what it is like being out on the road promoting a book. This might give you an idea:

Phone alarm rings at 5:00 a.m.
Spend three minutes trying to answer my shoe.
Throw shoe across room. Find phone. Turn alarm off.
Can’t remember where I am.
Have been in Birmingham, Houston, Dallas and Ft. Worth in the past three days.
Look at d├ęcor of room. Got it. Graham, Texas. Small town. Gave horse clinic yesterday.
Have 9:40 a.m. flight to Nashville. Airport more than two hours away.
Dress in business suit for author reception at book festival in Nashville later.
Can’t find shoe. At last locate it in wastebasket.
Stumble to very dark parking lot. Can’t remember where I parked truck.
Wander around in the dark. Trip over suitcase I left in middle of parking lot.
Land on tail bone and remember I am driving a rental.
Realize I am lying next to it, a black PT Cruiser.
Load luggage. Can’t figure out how to turn on headlights.
Oops, that’s the horn. Okay, got it.
Drive behind terminally slow trucks for first hour on two lane road on way to Love Field in Dallas.
Can’t remember how to get back to rental car lot.
Look for address on rental agreement.
Can’t find rental agreement.
Think booking agent might have it back in Graham.
Call agent at hotel and leave message.
See signs for airport.
Call agent again. Leave another message.
Call 411 for local rental info and get connected to national office.
National office can’t give directions or local number without rental agreement number.
Stop at convenience store to ask directions.
Witness robbery at convenience store. Probably not the best neighborhood.
Look at watch.
Flight leaves in less than an hour.
Go in and ask directions anyway.
Apparently no one speaks English here.
Drive around progressively worse neighborhood. Roll up windows.
Find kid on bike.
Give him a dollar to lead me to rental car office.
Office doesn’t want to take car back without lease agreement.
Finally get to airport. Sail through security. Amazing.
Get to gate 87 seconds before departure. Plenty of time.
Agent calls. Has lease agreement number.
Fall asleep on plane.
Wake up to realize I am snoring. Loudly.
Go back to sleep.
Wake up again. Find I have drooled down the front of my business suit.
Land in Nashville.
Stop by security on off chance someone turned in the watch I left in the security tray on my way out of Nashville three days prior.
Told to wait by post.
Fall asleep leaning against post.
Awake to hear whispers from people who apparently saw Channel 4 segment on my new book that aired while I was out of town.
“That is too her.”
I open one eye to look at them and they scurry off.
Miraculously, security agent arrives with watch.
Get on shuttle to long term parking.
Can’t remember where truck is parked. Do realize I am looking for truck, not rental car.
Nice shuttle driver drives me all over lot.
Forty minutes later we find truck.
I thank driver with a hug.
Load luggage in truck. Truck will not start.
Use emergency call box at shuttle stop.
Look at watch.
One hour to author reception.
Try to repair hair, drool and makeup while waiting for help.
Nice man arrives with jumper cables.
Truck starts.
Head to author reception.
Late. Can’t find parking spot.
Wedge truck between a pillar and a Hummer.
Can’t get doors open.
Squeeze out back window.
Think positive thoughts as I walk four blocks to reception.
Take lots of deep breaths. Someone asks if I am hyperventilating.
Find reception.
Food is great! Meet several wonderful people.
Head home to start all over again the next day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Best Laid Plans

I had plans for last week, work I was going to get done and friends I was going to see. Then my son had a car accident and everything changed. While he was not at fault and he generally was okay, his car was totaled. There was the towing company to deal with. And the insurance, both ours and the man who was at fault. Then there was the car rental company, medical appointments, and more insurance.

Something had to give and it was my original plans for the week. But you know what? It didn't matter. Sometimes you know what you have to do and it isn't at all what you thought you had to do. Especially when horses or kids are involved, life can change on the drop of a dime. We find ourselves operating on their time frame, not ours, and that isn't always a bad thing.

That's why when, four days after my son's accident, a car I was riding in was rear ended, it was okay. Yes, I had pressing job and career things to do, but you realize quickly that nothing in more important than your health. So if I am a little slower in meeting deadlines, it is because I am taking care of my stiff neck and back. That way I will be back to full strength sooner and can again work to full capacity.

When you have one of those instinctive moments, when you suddenly know your plans have to change, right now, I hope you will go with the flow and take care of the truly important things in life.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Whether it is financial or health, I know several people who are going through some really hard times right now. You probably do as well. I find it interesting that some people come out of times like these stronger and better, while others seem to disintegrate under such pressure. Whenever adversity strikes me I try to stay positive and the following quotes sometimes help me. So I am posting them here, so that you may draw strength from them as well:

"Life is a continuous exercise in creative problem solving." Michael J. Gelb

"Life is either an adventure, or nothing." Helen Keller

"Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised." Dennis Waitley

"The harder you work, the luckier you get." Gary Player

"Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking." J.C. Watts

These and other favorite quotes of mine can be found in my book Success Within: How to Create the Greatest Moments of Your Life.

A horse I know recently had a health scare. She had to be confined to her stall for several days when she would much rather have been out with her friends in her pasture. And when this horse is not happy, she makes her feelings quite known. She will pin her ears, shake her head, bump up against her leader, etc. But although she was not happy, during this time, she was very cooperative. She knew the people around her were helping her and she did her best to help them help her.

This, to me, is handling adversity well. This little horse is one of the ones whom life's challenges makes better. It might not be a fun process, but you know better things await, so you do your best. And as long as you know in your heart that you are doing everything possible to make the situation better, you can feel good in knowing that in this particular situation, you were the best you that you could be.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Like a lot of people, I struggle with balance. Not the physical kind, but the kind that means taking time for yourself. When I get involved in a project, I eat, live and breathe is until it is done, so I have to force myself to take a walk, weed the garden, or play with the dog. These are all things I like to do, so it seems odd even to me that I have to force myself at certain times to fit it all in. Here's an idea I give to my clients that I realize I need to use myself:

Allot a certain amount of time each day for certain tasks. If I can only spend three hours on a project, then I quit when three hours are up and decide to feel glad for the amount of work that I got done. That way, for example, I can take 30 minutes to walk, 20 minutes to weed and 15 minutes to play.

For those of you with horses, this idea works better when you are not working with horses than when you are. That's because when a horse is involved, you have to work at least partially on the horse's time frame. If you want to work on bending, you are only going to get as much done as the horse is capable of. His expectations and yours may be completely different, so you are only going to go as fast or as slow as your equine partner will allow you to go.

So my goal for today is to balance productivity with realistic time frames for everything I do.

For more on these ideas, check out the books section of my web site.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Welcome to my new blog! I am a person who wears many hats, but most of my activities fall into the category of horses and personal success. I've been around horses all my life and still find it amazing how learning about horses can teach you about getting along with people. So if you are not a horse person but still want to improve your life, there is something here for you, too. For more of an introduction to me, my books and DVDs, and my speaking dates, check out my web site at

or sign up for my monthly newsletter by sending an email to

You know, every day I choose the one thing for which I am most grateful and today it is the amount of quality work that has been coming to me lately. Many people know me as an equine trainer, riding instructor and clinician, and as a speaker for corporations and associations, but I also am a book editor. Recently I have been able to work with several up-and-coming authors and am so excited about their projects. It is premature for me to mention who they are, but at the appropriate time I will. I am finding great new friendships in these authors, and that is always exciting.

On the horse front, the other day I watched a horse roll. It is something I have observed many times, but this time I was struck by the total abandon in which horses roll in the dirt. Horses are completely unselfconscious when rolling, giving themselves into the moment and enjoying the experience thoroughly. How often do we humans take a moment like that for ourselves? So that's my goal for today, to take a few minutes to do something completely unexpected and fun, and to enjoy the process thoroughly.