Why are we so hard on ourselves

Why are we so hard on ourselves? And by extension, others?

We are our own worst critic. I used to be harder on myself. I still am sometimes. Writing this post, for example, was difficult for me. I wondered if my inspiration to write this post was worth exploring. I worried what people would think about my opinions. But, I wrote anyway. What helped me? I gave myself some slack, some credit, and a lot of acceptance. I decided to follow my heart and instincts. I remembered to reach out to my support system. So, I put one foot in front of the other. Here are some tools that help me.

  • Accept who you are.best
  • Know you deserve to be happy and have a fulfilling life.
  • Remind yourself you are doing the best you can.
  • You have the power to change your perspective.
  • Create a support system of people who love you for who you are. (Thank you to mine.)
  • Take baby steps and continue to move forward.


As I’m learning to not be hard on myself, I notice I am not as hard on others anymore. I try to remember that most of the time people are wrapped up in themselves, in their lives. They aren’t trying to be mean or judgmental. They might be depressed, having a bad day, or overly critical of themselves. Or, maybe they are just busy. No one chooses to be hard on each other. Take a moment to let your emotions subside. Try to see things from a different point of view. Practice the ideas I wrote in my last post It’s How You Look At It. Here are some of the ideas:

  • Don’t take things personally or to heart.
  • Replace your assumptions.
  • Have empathy and compassion.
  • Be reflective. There’s always room to improve.

The problem I struggle with now is I make excuses for people’s bad behavior. Yes, they might be wrapped up in their lives, but it’s no excuse to treat others poorly. To handle this, I’m trying to weigh my reaction with how often I need to interact with the person. If I never have to see the person again, I let them go. If I need to continue to interact with them, I need to clear the air and practice acceptance as they present themselves. People will always show you their true colors – eventually. It takes courage to stand up to people who continue to impact your life in a negative way.


Love yourself and have faith in the gifts God has given you.

~I’m here to help


Applied Social Psychology blog. 2014. Why Are We So Hard On Eachother. PennState. Retrieved from: http://sites.psu.edu/aspsy/2014/11/29/why-are-we-so-hard-on-eachother/

Bebenek,  Emily June 24, 2016. Why we, as humans, are so hard on ourselves. TEDx Talks. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1hVt_OHn2A

Dahl, Melissa. June 2016. It Seems Some Ambitious People Are Not Great at Being Kind to Themselves. NY Magazine. Retrieved from: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/06/why-do-some-people-have-such-a-hard-time-being-kind-to-themselves.html

Deschene, Lori. 2001. Tiny Wisdom: On Being Hard On Yourself. Tiny Buddha. Retrieved from: https://tinybuddha.com/quotes/tiny-wisdom-on-being-hard-on-yourself/

Firestone, Lisa. May 2010. Why Are We So Self-Critical? Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201005/why-are-we-so-self-critical
IMDB. 1991. What About Bob? Retrieved from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103241/
Markway, Barbara. September 2011. Why Is Self-Acceptance So Hard? Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shyness-is-nice/201109/why-is-self-acceptance-so-hard
Polard, Andrea. March 2017. Are You Too Hard On Yourself? Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unified-theory-happiness/201703/are-you-too-hard-yourself
Some fun with Bitmoji:

It’s how you look at it


Checking out the beautiful town of Raleigh in North Carolina for a possible future national library conference location, I have been impressed by the beauty of the land and the people. I have been people watching, talking with anyone I make eye contact with, and keeping an open mind. I had an unexpected day yesterday because I wound up not following the original day’s itinerary. I spent time trying to look at the locations from the perspective of how people coming for a conference might react to – different situations, conference venues, local places to visit and eat, and the people of Raleigh. One of the first questions I was asked was ‘what are the top 3 things you need in a conference venue’? I thought I had the answer. But by the end of the day, I changed it. The most important thing is being able to offer opportunities – for networking, for learning, for eating, and for seeing local sites. The best way to offer opportunities is to look at the venues from a practical point of view – transportation, technology, and togetherness. One thing I can’t foresee is how people will react to the conference venue. In the bigger picture, I find myself reflecting if people realize how vital one’s perspective is in everything we do.

This morning I was in the hotel pool. It was very early, the pool was cold, there were kids jumping around me (with oblivious parents chatting in a corner), and I was attempting to do some water walking. By the third time one of the girls hit into me, I decided to go into the hot tub. The hot tub wasn’t working and wasn’t hot. I was intrigued by a very large bug, seeing it’s the only time I saw a bug that large outside of the zoo. I was studying it until it looked like it was going to jump in the water with me. At that point, I decided it was time to get back to the room. I took a shower, dressed, and went to the restaurant. The staff were swamped with people from one of the conventions at the hotel. Instead of giving me a menu, the hostess assumed I was with the convention group. I suppose I look like I could belong with them, but she didn’t even ask. Are you wondering what the convention was? Ha! You’ll have to ask.

After I returned to the room, I realized I was smiling and humming. None of the things that happened had affected my spirit. And this has me thinking. How did I get here? negThough I have friends who would disagree, I wasn’t always this way. People ask me why I seem to always be smiling and comment that I’m a high-energy person. I’m not always smiling and happy. We all have our moments, our days. I don’t know if everyone is this way – but I know I’ve had to work at it. It’s like that concept “fake it until you make it”. And now, I don’t think about it – it’s just how I am.

How do you “fake it until you make it”? I could probably write an article on each bullet point below. But, as an overview, here are some practical tips:

  • Don’t take things personally or to heart. I like to think people are so wrapped up in their own little worlds that they forget there are people around them. When someone seems to be having a hard time, pause and smile.
  • If you have a negative thought, stop it. You don’t need to replace it with a positive thought, though I know people who do this. I believe we should allow the thought because we should accept ourselves fully and negative thoughts are part of that. Just stop yourself so you don’t allow the negative thought to continue.
  • Replace your assumptions. I find we make assumptions about people and their behaviors. Try to think of things from another perspective.
  • Have empathy and compassion. Listening and putting your point of view aside can go a long way in helping a person out.
  • Feel your feels and move on. It’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling. But don’t let it take over.
  • Life can get overwhelming. There’s so much more to do, see, and be. Remember this is only a moment in your life. But every moment is precious – so make it count.
  • Be reflective. There’s always room to improve.

While here in Raleigh, I have met some wonderful people. I had made some assumptions before traveling here. I assumed being in the South that people would all have a strong accent, be a little more uptight, and be slower. Instead, I have felt welcomed. People are kind, I haven’t heard one “ya’ll”, and I’ve not run over anyone. I have so many stories in my head about the people of Raleigh and I’m smiling. I have enjoyed getting to know people, laughing, and sharing. Some people have touched my soul in ways they may not understand. And I believe I’ve left my imprint upon them. I look forward to my future return.

~I’m Here To Help

P.S. I have many funny stories about my trip and flight into Raleigh. I started talking at 3:30am when my taxi driver picked me up. I spoke to no less than 20 people who helped me out at the airport. Waiting for my flight, I helped an older foreign man. He was walking around observing people then approached me, showed me a phone number on the scratch piece of paper he was clutching, and asked if I would call his daughter to let her know he made it to the gate. If you see me, ask me to act out that scene for you. I’m still chuckling.

I flew on United Airlines. It was my first flight alone. I thought I was going to be a bundle of nerves. Instead, I was so excited that I caught myself grinning from ear to ear. The flight crew were nice and courteous. At one point, I was getting self-conscious because I saw the flight attendants whispering and smiling at me. I thought they were talking about my walking boot being in the aisle where they walked. Instead, they approached me and told me to look around at the other people. I turned to look and saw that everyone appeared to be asleep. The attendants said they loved my energy because I was smiling and alert and they could tell I was just soaking the experience in.


Keep Moving

Keep Moving!” was this month’s storytime theme at one of the preschools I visit. We talked about the importance of movement through stretch, yoga, and dance. The children had so much fun and learned how to do the sign language for the word dance.

American Sign Language: Dance

Keep Moving, has been repeating over and over in my head. It’s more than a storytime theme, it’s a life theme for me. There are plenty of health reasons to keep moving. Studies have shown that at any age or whatever ails you, simply walking every day will help you. Then there’s the longtime PBS show by Mary Ann Wilson, RN called Sit and Be Fit that has proven that even stretching in a chair helps improve your health.

More, I’m talking about a frame of mind. It’s a good life philosophy for when life gets hard to keep moving. When I was younger, I remember being home sick and my grandfather would come into my room and tell me to get up and out of bed. He would have me help him cook or do something around the house. “Now go get the mail. Now go take out the dog.” I would say, “But, Poppy, I’m sick.” He would just keep telling me things to do. Every day, no matter how he felt or what was going on, he would get up and go. And on his final days at home, when he was able, he still wanted to get out of bed, get dressed, get the mail, and go for a car ride. So on the hardest days, when it’s hard to get out of bed, I’m reminded of him and I get out of bed, get dressed, and keep moving.

I’m visiting my relatives in Wisconsin. And I’m reminded of my Aunt Mary who believed that you needed to walk outside, every day – no matter what the weather, no matter how you felt. She believed it helped your mind and body to walk and breathe. When life gets hard, I give myself some time to feel my feels. Then I get up, open a window, take a deep breath, and start my day.

I believe it’s important to keep moving. We only have a short time in this life to enjoy the gifts around us. Some days are hard to not just stay in bed and feel my feels all day long. But I think of my son, my grandfather, and those who have gone before me. I don’t have days like this very often. Sometimes I have a hard moment throughout the day. But when I have these moments, I feel fortunate to have the strength of my angels and memories to keep moving.

I am grateful for my family and friends – even when they don’t agree with or understand me. I try every day to be the best I can be, to live an honest life, and to love. I don’t want to be the “kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, “Oh crap she’s up!” (origin unknown). It might be corny to say, but I want to be the kind of woman that when my feet hit the floor, the angels watching over me grab a cup of tea and a cookie and say “let’s see what good she’ll try to do today”. Studies show the impact music plays on our brains and emotions. So if I need motivation, I play upbeat music, like Meghan Trainor’s Me Too.


~I’m here to help




American Heart Association. July 26, 2016. Get Moving: Easy Tips to Get Active! Retrieved from: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/GettingActive/Get-Moving-Easy-Tips-to-Get-Active_UCM_307978_Article.jsp#.WPDS4IjyvIU

Benaroch, Roy. January 31, 2016. Kids’ Exercise: How Physical Activity and Exercise Benefit Your Body. WebMD. Retrieved from: http://fit.webmd.com/kids/move/article/exercise-helps-body

Good Morning Quotes. December 2, 2016. 50 Best Positive Thoughts for the Day. Good Morning Quotes. Retrieved from: http://www.goodmorningquote.com/positive-thoughts/

Knapton, Sarah. June 14, 2016. A brisk 15-minute walk a day lowers death risk for older adults. The Telegraph: Science. Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/06/14/a-15-minutes-brisk-walk-a-day-lowers-death-risk-for-older-adults/

Mayo Clinic News Network. April 16, 2016. Keep moving: the importance of exercise in cancer survivorship. Standard Times: Health and Fitness. Retrieved from: http://archive.gosanangelo.com/lifestyle/health/Keep-moving-the-importance-of-exercise-in-cancer-survivorship-375969471.html

Mayo Clinic Staff. February 18, 2017. Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950

Trainor, Meghan. May 10, 2016. Me Too. MeghanTrainorVEVO. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDRORgoZxZU

Meyers, Josh. January 4, 2017. Just Keep Moving – The Importance of Staying Fit During the Winter Months. Orthopedic and Sports Therapy Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.ostipt.com/blog/Just-Keep-Moving-The-Importance-of-Staying-Fit-During-the-Winter-Months~3103.html

Minden, Joel. August 25, 2016. The Problem With Positive Thinking. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cbt-and-me/201608/the-problem-positive-thinking

Robinson, Lawrence; Smith, Melinda; Segal, Jeanne. April 2017. Exercise and Fitness as You Age: Exercise Tips to Get Fit and Stay Fit in Midlife and Beyond. Help Guide. Retrieved from: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/exercise-fitness/exercise-and-fitness-as-you-age.htm

Rueb, April. June 15, 2016. 5 Things That Happened When I Tried To Walk 20,000 Steps A Day. Prevention. Retrieved from: http://www.prevention.com/fitness/5-things-that-happened-when-i-tried-to-walk-20000-steps-a-day

Seliger, Susan. 2017. Stretching Exercises at Your Desk: 12 Simple Tips. WebMD. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/stretching-exercises-at-your-desk-12-simple-tips

Siegel, Ronald D. May 4, 2016. Mind over back pain. Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mind-back-pain-201605049517

Wilson, Mary Ann. 2017. Sit and Be Fit. Retrieved from: https://www.sitandbefit.org/

Choose Love.

Choose love. That sounds simple enough. Reflect on this. Do we choose love?

I think love has more than one meaning. Different images come to mind with different types of love. The love of a parent. The love of a spouse. The love of a friend. The love of a child. The love of a stranger.

I love many people in my life. My parents’ deepest purpose was to give us what they had been given as children – a roof over our heads and plenty of food, a good education, and comfort that family will always be there. Their gifts to me were strength and courage.

chicago pants2
I say this often when I need courage to handle a situation.
Simple. Joy.

I was recently talking to a friend who doesn’t believe in unconditional love. I told him I understand what it is because I have a child. My world changed when I had my son. He is the most important person in my life. I can’t imagine a world without him, without his love, without giving him love. I laugh more with him than anyone. He is the kindest, most-level headed person I know. And that is saying something about a child just entering his teen years. I pray he will always find strength in knowing his parents love him unconditionally. I hope his journey is long and met with self-awareness, strength, courage, kindness, and happiness.


I know my son is a rare gift and other parents are handling more stressful behaviors. Their children have mental health problems, drug addictions, or aren’t as loving and appreciative of life’s gifts. A parent needs to be strong – especially when their child has lost their way. All we can do is guide them. We cannot live their lives or make their choices. Sometimes we cannot help them – but we can love them.

Starved Rock 20160415 (12)

Do you know unconditional love? It’s an acceptance for the person you truly are, the person you are meant to be. A parent is supposed to guide their children to be ethical, kind people. They are supposed to reward healthy and respectful choices. I have read “it is easier to build a child than it is to repair an adult” and it’s so true. Parents make mistakes. Adult children need to acknowledge this and choose their own path without blame or fault. A good parent will try to guide their children on the correct path. Parents need to give space for children to grow. A parent needs to accept that their children are different human beings and will make their own choices.

What about unconditional love in other relationships? Spouses need space to grow as individuals, but stay connected to their partnership. This is not an easy task and many couples differ in their needs and points of view on this. Some people didn’t learn to listen to themselves and figure out their own truths before marriage. Some fall in love with the idea of love and marriage and do not take the time to see themselves or others for who they truly are. Instead of growing and figuring things out together, people get lost. Any long-term friendship has the same connects and disconnects. It takes two people, committed to each other, who want to grow. It’s an on-going process that needs to be acknowledged. One thing I am trying to learn on my journey is people will show you who they truly are, if you only listen. The same can be said for ourselves. Listen.

I have always believed that I can’t make anyone happy and that no one can make me happy. It’s listening to our destiny and being true to ourselves. But if we don’t listen and see the truth, we can get lost. It’s heartbreaking when we feel like we failed – our parents, our spouse, our children, ourselves. It takes a strong and courageous person:

  • to acknowledge when you are unhappy
  • to yearn for nothing more than to be yourself
  • to have finally listened and heard
  • to go against the advice of loved ones and follow your path
  • to know when it’s time to move on

Do you want to know how to love? Some people have good role models, others do not. I believe we all have the capacity to love. Here are a few things we can do to love one another unconditionally.

  • Listen. Truly hear what people are saying – in both what they say and how they say it. Hear what they are saying without judgement, without thinking of a response. Just listen.
  • Empathize. Embrace what the person is feeling with understanding and compassion.
  • Observe. Push the emotion aside and look at the truths in the situation. This step is one of the hardest because sometimes we don’t want to see or deal with the truth.
  • Guide. Offer non-judgmental advice that comes from your heart. And realize, your advice might not be received or followed.
  • Accept. Relinquish what you think or feel. Welcome opinions and beliefs, even if they differ from yours. Let go.

We need air, sunshine, and water to expand our wings and grow. Or to put it another way, we need space, acceptance, and love. Practice kindness and love. Accept yourself and one another. If you live your life this way, you are blessed. We only have one chance to live our life. Live it with your eyes and heart open.

~I’m here to help

…at any age… 


Please write me and let me know if anything I said has reached you, helped you, or made sense. I enjoy getting comments and emails from my readers. Thank you for being with me on my journey.



Bernstein, Jeffrey. April 30, 2016. Creating Boundaries with Your Adult Child. Psychology Today. Retried from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/liking-the-child-you-love/201604/creating-boundaries-your-adult-child

Clarkson, Sally. January 23, 2017. Five Ways to Show Your Children Unconditional Love. Kristen Welch: We Are That Family. Retrieved from: http://wearethatfamily.com/2017/01/five-ways-show-children-unconditional-love/

Elliott, Susan J. September 2, 2016. What is Unconditional Love? Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/getting-back-out-there/201609/what-is-unconditional-love

Firestone, Lisa. August 8, 2016. 7 Behaviors That Ruin a Relationship. Psychology Today. Retried from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201608/7-behaviors-ruin-relationship

Markham, Laura. March 2, 2014. 5 Secrets to Love Your Child Unconditionally. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/peaceful-parents-happy-kids/201403/5-secrets-love-your-child-unconditionally

Psychology Today authors. 2017. Marriage. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/marriage

Sidell, Nina. A Parent’s Unconditional Love. PsychCentral. Retrieved from: https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2016/06/06/a-parents-unconditional-love/

Taylor, Jim. November 6, 2009. Parenting; Unconditional Love is Bad! Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/200911/parenting-unconditional-love-is-bad

I stumbled into myself

No matter what your hobby, craft, or passion – in order to showcase your talent, be true to yourself. Sometimes people say they want to ‘find their voice’ or they are trying to figure out what they are good at doing. The truth is we are trying to discover who we are.

Here are some steps that can help anyone seeking this next step in their lives.

  1. Listen.
  2. Observe.
  3. Develop.

Try these exercises. Sit still, listen, observe.

  • At home, turn off the TV, music, etc. Sit in a place you are relaxed.
  • In nature, sit in a place you can listen without too much interruption from people.
  • At work, take a break and sit in a place you can observe people.

Listen. What do you hear? What sounds have you heard before? What sounds are new? Observe. Do you find your mind wandering? How do you feel? Are your other senses more alive? What do you smell? What do you see?

The first time I tried sitting still in nature and listening, I judged a squirrel. Yes, you read that correctly. I judged a squirrel. Instead of just listening to, watching, soaking in that the squirrel was gathering food, I was wondering why the squirrel seemed to be running in circles with little food gathering success. Then I asked myself why I thought I knew better than the squirrel. Once I truly payed attention, I understood the food gathering technique. Judging people is natural. It’s in our survival DNA so we can make quick decisions. How often are you judging people or a situation that doesn’t require our judgment? That is the real question. That is how we can change and grow.

Take the exercises a step further. Write, draw, photograph what you have listened to and observed. Do you think what you craft would be different than a person who is with you and have observed the same thing? Of course! Why is this? We have lived different lives, have had different experiences, and have different values. Judge less. Practice acceptance. Discover your craft by trying new things and listening to yourself.

I remember my third-grade teacher pulling me aside and telling me she thought I would be a great writer one day and encouraged me to write. I had four other teachers, along the way, tell me the same. I would write poems. I would journal. I would write plots for future stories. Once school was over, I rarely picked up a pen but often longed for inspiration to write. When I decided to go back to school for my master’s degree, I had opportunities thrust upon me (school work) to begin writing again. And when I was done with my degree, I decided it was time to put my experiences and my expertise out there. Starting this blog was both scary and fun. I struggle with each post and yet have such joy each time I learn that I have reached someone, helped someone.

Look up. Breathe. The sun will shine.


Today I was inspired by a friend who reminded me that life is a journey – a beautiful path that can turn out well if you take one day at a time, you keep moving forward. Take time to laugh. To listen. To enjoy.




Every day. A gift. A chance.


Spend time doing what comes natural. If you are a writer, write. If you are a photographer, photograph. If you are a painter, paint. Have fun. Find inspiration. Try new things. Practice. Guess what will happen when you find yourself doing what comes naturally?


You will stumble into yourself.




I hope you stumble into yourself. Let me know what inspires you. 

~I’m Here To Help


I take photos of the sky to remind myself how beautiful our world can be.


The beauty of the sunrise. Hope. New day.



Alzheimer’s & Dementia

I remember how afraid this amazing woman was about this disease that eventually took her from us. We miss you, Lupe.

Dementia doesn’t know age, race, or any other of our differences. It doesn’t care if it’s your Mom, your best friend, or your spouse. And though most cases happen to those those 65 and older, there are about 5% of cases that can occur earlier.


Do you know someone with dementia? There are many types of this disease. What I didn’t realize is that dementia is an umbrella term for those suffering from a loss of mental ability. “Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is just one example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases.  Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.” (Alzheimer’s Assocation http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp)

If dementia hasn’t personally touched your life, you are fortunate. The Alzheimer’s Association projects that by 2050, there will be an estimated 13.8 million people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve known people who have dealt with memory loss and watched the years of their lives slowly fade. My heart goes out to them and their families.

What can we do to help them?

  • Make sure they are safe.
  • Don’t argue their reality.
  • Offer any comfort you can to them.
  • Play music and do things with them they enjoy.
  • You may not be able to provide around-the-clock care for them that they will need. It’s okay.
  • For those who can no longer read, offer them magazines, coffee table picture books, books on CD, movies, music, or anything they can touch, see, feel, or hear.
  • Any gesture will make a difference, even if you don’t see it. Talk to them. Give them something from their past that might stir a memory. One big take away I have learned from working with memory care patrons is that you might not see the impact, but – from their nurses, caretakers, and families – I’ve heard about how memories were stirred or someone reacted.

I have spent the past year with a colleague (David Kelsey) giving presentations, hosting meetings, and gathering resources for librarians who wish to help patrons with dementia and their caretakers. We focus on the networking with organizations, sharing programming ideas, developing collections, and forming partnerships. We share inspiring stories and try to keep on the forefront of proving people with information and a place to feel like part of a supportive community.

I typically list resources at the end of my articles. Today, I invite you to look at a new blog I have begun that has a plethora of resources laid out on this topic. It is geared towards librarians networking about this important topic. But you will find the resources helpful for yourself or a loved one. You might stumble upon a program idea you can incorporate in your own home or when visiting someone in a care facility. I especially encourage you to check out the Alzheimer’s Association website. Not only do they have outstanding research and information, they have people who and workshops that can help in a practical and easily-understood manner.


I present you with:

Serving Patrons with Dementia.

~I’m here to help


Time to Reflect

Today marks 150 days since I returned from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Congress in Columbus, Ohio. I keep replaying my drive home and the evening of my arrival in my mind. My life has not been the same since, as my personal life has changed drastically. I spend time with my amazing son, helping other people, and working on projects. I find keeping busy helps get through hard times. My experiences during the Congress gave me hope and strength, both professionally and personally, beyond anything I have previously experienced.

Here are a few insights I have embraced:

  • Take time every day to appreciate who you are.
  • Have a daily mantra.
  • Give of yourself to family and friends.
  • Breathe life in.
  • Let go of things that cause you stress or harm.
  • Embrace new opportunities.
  • Meet new people.
  • Have compassion for those different than yourself.
  • When you are having a bad day, remember tomorrow is a new day.
  • As long as you are stepping forward, you are going in the right direction.

When I think of IFLA, the people come to mind first. Then I ponder how we are all connected. The most amazing relationship I learned about is the one between IFLA and the United Nations. If you look at the 17 goals (in the photo), I think you will agree that we need to work together to attain these. Libraries are not alone in their quest to be an integral part of our world; rather libraries are an important part of society.

If you are interested in more information on IFLA, please read on and check out the library toolkit. If not, I’ll assume you are not a librarian. So I thank you for reading this post and I ask you “when was the last time you thought about visiting your library?” Take a look at your local library and what we do!

~I’m here to help

“In September 2015, the United Nations endorsed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. IFLA has been actively involved in the process of creating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the last years and has advocated for the importance of access to information, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), culture and universal literacy, all of which have been included in the UN 2030 Agenda”(http://www.ifla.org/publications/node/10546).

Access and Opportunity for All: How Libraries contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda


The 2016 theme of the IFLA Congress was “Together we make breakthroughs possible”.

Here are some of the highlights from the IFLA Congress of the sessions I attended. There were sessions for every age, race, sexual identity, and special demographic we serve in libraries. Librarians from public, academic, and special libraries were represented in topic and theory from around the world.

  • The opening session and presentations by prominent people reminded me that we are an important part of learning, education, and fun in people’s lives.
  • “A sanctuary in times of need – the Public Library response.” A great discussion and share about serving different demographics and special needs populations, refugees and migrants, and various languages.
  • Carol Luper,  retired news host, shared different ways we should think about communicating with the public and others around the world. Other discussions on rebranding the public library, social media, and discussion of a Dewey-less  model.
  • Creating spaces, in particular makerspaces, was presented along with tools for visibility and social betterment in local communities. Bringing technology, programming, and resources to the different demographics. Evaluating our worth and quantifying the value of libraries and information centers.
  • Preservation and disaster preparedness was discussed in several sessions. Discussions about rare books and special collections. Also green libraries and environmental sustainability
  • Many sessions on digital content, formats, data management, archiving, and copyright. Discussions about the current state and where we are going in the future of the digital age and libraries.

If you work in a library, I encourage you to utilize the vast resources IFLA offers, become a member, and attend their annual Congress.


ALA. 1996. Library Bill of Rights. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

IFLA. 2016. Access and Opportunity for All: How Libraries contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda. http://www.ifla.org/publications/node/10546

United Nations. 2017. What We Do. http://www.un.org/en/sections/what-we-do/

Williams. 2016. Lifelong Learning. https://tinaheretohelp.com/2016/05/04/lifelong-learning/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

Williams. 2016. We are all People. https://tinaheretohelp.com/2016/08/27/we-are-all-people/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true


One of my projects that I invite you to get involved in is the Serving Patrons with Dementia group. Our group meets quarterly with other librarians in Illinois. We also have presentations showcasing what libraries can do for this growing demographic.  If you aren’t a librarian, check out what your library is offering for caretakers or those afflicted with this disease. Serving Patrons with Dementia group. https://www.railslibraries.info/community/groups/serving-patrons-dementia-group


Transform in 2017

It’s the new year and I’ve been thinking about how we transform, how we evolve. My son has enjoyed playing Pokémon since he was 5. I especially  like it since this game is the reason he enjoys reading. Evolution, as explained by the Pokémon database, “is a key part of the Pokémon games. Evolving Pokémon makes them stronger and often gives them a wider movepool.” Interesting how evolution is the same for us in the human world – it makes us stronger, offers new learning opportunities, and gives us a larger view of life.

Some people believe in resolutions. I like to think you can resolve to make changes and create new beginnings anytime you are ready for them. One of the posts I keep seeing this past week speaks to getting off the couch and not waiting for life to begin. If you want something, you need to make the change, you have to be the one to smile through the hard times, you have to be the positive light in a negative situation. Challenge yourself to listen, observe, learn, and grow. Challenge yourself to go out more, pick up a new book, or find a new hobby. Create opportunities for yourself. Discover what you love. Reconnect with nature. Look up an old friend. Meet people who touch your soul. Evolve!

More than anything, I enjoy reading self-help books and blogs. I use this overload of information to evolve. Here are some of the things I have put in place, as I evolve in 2017, and hope you can find some tidbits for yourself within:

  • I’ve been told I am similar to the movie/book character, Walter Mitty. We share an extraordinary imagination and have a hard time stepping outside our comfort zone until we need to help someone. Like Walter Mitty, I love to look at the world through photographs. I love to take pictures, not be in them. In 2016, I set on a quest to take more photos of myself and to do more of the things I wanted to do. I take photos of myself in nature, at library conferences, out with friends, at work, etc. live-with-intention
  • I call friends. Did you know Panera Bread has a great soup and salad/sandwich special? I’ve become a fan because it’s healthier eating and a great place to catch up with friends. It’s quiet enough to hear each other and noisy enough to speak your mind. A word of caution, the hours fly by there.
  • I unplug and reconnect through mindfulness and meditation. I enjoy nature. And I go to the indoor pool for water walking and swimming whenever I can.
  • I write. I joined a writing club. It’s my goal to write every day. I use my Walter Mitty imagination when writing for myself. What an inspirational thought that one day one of my daydreams will be published.a-story
  • We all want to live the best life we can, as long as we can. I’m almost halfway to my weight loss goal. Richard Simmons taught me to keep moving. Dr. Travis Stork taught me what you put in your mouth matters. Dr. Phil McGraw taught me that you make your choices because there is a payoff.
  • I lead with my heart and stood in line too many times when feelings were being handed out. I have been working on being more logical – thinking more instead of letting feelings overwhelm me. This has helped me understand that everyone doesn’t feel and think the same way I do.
  • I’ve been allowing my imagination to explore the real world. Dare to dream. As one of the blog posts I enjoy reading stated “If you never roll the dice, you’ll never know how far you can go.”
  • I worry less by reaching out to others to talk about what has me worried. This is a concept called Outsource Your Worry from a book by M.J. Ryan. “…each of us tends to worry in the places we need the most support…we worry because we don’t have easy answers in the types of thinking where we are not strong” (page 233).
  • Spend time loving what you are doing. I love spending time with my son, with friends, meeting new people, writing, and taking on new opportunities. I also enjoy cleaning because it clears the cobwebs from my mind and does a world of good for my soul too.

We don’t have Nurse Joy to give us the power we may need. But we each have more inner strength than we realize. Find your inner strength and courage to make changes in your life. Some days putting one step in front of the other is the best we can do. I believe as long as we are moving forward, it doesn’t matter how big of a step it is. We do what we can. Find support and move forward.

Listen to yourself, nature, and those around you. Communicate better. Find your creative side. Worry less. Spend time with loved ones. Dream. Live with passion. Be kind. Find courage. Learn and grow. Evolve!

~I’m here to help


Further reading and resources:

Bowen, Jan. 2016. 7 Ways Knowing Yourself Leads to More Happiness. Retrieved from: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2016/05/27/7-ways-knowing-yourself-leads-to-more-happiness/

Christensen, Tanner. 2016. How to Build a Life of Inspiration in Four Easy Steps. Retrieved from: http://creativesomething.net/post/138217172835/how-to-build-a-life-of-inspiration-in-four-easy

Ginsburg, B.W. November 3, 2016.  If You Never Roll the Dice, You’ll Never Know How Far You Can Go. Retrieved from: http://www.theseeds4life.com/never-roll-dice-youll-never-know-far-can-go-b-g

Lee, Elliot. 2016. Psychology Says the Fear of Rejection Can Be a Source of Strength. Retrieved from: http://www.lifehack.org/356835/psychology-says-the-fear-rejection-can-source-strength-2

Radmacher, Mary Anne. 2007. Lean Forward Into Your Life. San Francisco, CA: Conari Press. Page 19.

Rosenberg,  Shannon. 2016. 26 Ridiculously Easy Life Changes You Can Make Today. Retrieved from: https://www.buzzfeed.com/shannonrosenberg/easy-changes-with-big-reward?utm_term=.ieP1XG8jV#.qd6RrKagX

Ryan, M.J. 2016. Habit Changers. New York: Crown Business. Page. 233.

Thrify Lady. 2016. 150+ Hobby Ideas Broken Down by Interest and Personality. Retrieved from: https://hobbylark.com/misc/How-to-Choose-a-Hobby


Notes from the article:

McGraw, Dr. Phil. http://www.drphil.com/

Panera Bread. https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/our-beliefs/food-as-it-should-be-nopt.html

Pokémon Database.  http://pokemondb.net/evolution

Pokémon’s Nurse Joy. http://pokemon.wikia.com/wiki/Nurse_Joy

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0359950/

Simmons, Richard.http://www.richardsimmons.com

Stork, Dr. Travis. https://twitter.com/travisstorkmd?lang=en


Sharing Gifts

I recently met Jaz, a young man who will be starting college in January. I offered to help him with his student loan paperwork and a resume. When we met, I realized he didn’t need my help. But he was gracious enough to listen to me and we wound up talking about his future. This amazing young man is about to begin the next phase of his life. I looked at him with wonder and a little envy. He can do whatever he wants with his life and he knows himself well enough to have chosen a path. He is smart and kind, thoughtful and funny, has advanced computer skills and critical thinking skills, and he wants to help people. I wondered if he realizes his natural abilities and gifts. I encouraged him to keep in touch and to dream big.

Ever notice we spend more time reflecting on our lives around this time of year?

  • It’s Autumn and the leaves are in brilliant color and falling.
  • If you are in school (or your kids are), this semester is wrapping up and the paperwork is due for the next semester.
  • No matter where you stand on the election, conversations about our next American President are part of daily reflection.
  • The holiday season is just around the corner – Thanksgiving, Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve.


What do you do after you reflect? I think about the past, give thanks for today, and hope for a better tomorrow. To move forward, you need to contemplate what you want to do next and set goals. If you haven’t already done so, start by recognizing your natural talents. What are your gifts?

There are different types of skills – hard and soft. Recent news articles suggest that the workforce is lacking necessary soft skills. Check out Ryan Robinson’s article How to Discover and Unleash Your Strengths as an Entrepreneur for a thorough explanation about the difference between hard (teachable abilities) and soft (people) skills.

It’s time to make your skills list. I’ll wait. gp2035-3

Here’s a list of common skills:

  • Communication, Public Speaking, Presentation
  • Organization, Time Management, Conflict Resolution
  • Teamwork, Collaboration, Form Partnerships
  • Planning, Research, Writing
  • Networking, Motivation, Teamwork
  • Creative Thinking, Decision Making, Problem-Solving
  • Customer Service, Instruction, Training
  • Resilient, Patient, Good Listener
  • Operate power tools and a hammer
  • Create Snapchats and make people laugh
  • Commentator and strategy master for Pokémon
  • Break into song whenever inspiration strikes

If you are still looking for what skills you may possess, check out The Balance for a comprehensive list of skills to get you thinking further.

Now that you have a list started, what are your next steps?

  • Reflect on the list. Remember a time you used each gift. Was it a good experience?
  • Ask other people what talents they see in you. Learn from others.
  • Embrace your inner child. What did you want to be when you grew up? How did it change over the years?
  • What tasks have you tried and liked/disliked? Recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Put your gifts into words. Become comfortable with them.

No matter where you are on your journey, you can reflect on your life. You are never too young or too old. Are you where you want to be? Is there something you have always wanted to do? Are you happy? It might not always feel like it, but you have a lot to offer. Dare to dream. What gifts will you share with the world?

~I’m here to help



Further reading and resources:

Bradberry, Travis. 2016. Forbes. 7 Skills That Are Hard To Learn But Payoff Forever. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/11/01/7-skills-that-are-hard-to-learn-but-payoff-forever/#144898ba7dfe

Doyle, Alison, 2016. The Balance. List of Soft Skills. Retrieved from. https://www.thebalance.com/list-of-soft-skills-2063770

Manson, Mark. 2016. Observer. Three Important Life Skills Nobody Ever Taught You. Retrieved from: http://observer.com/2016/11/three-important-life-skills-nobody-ever-taught-you/

Morin, Amy. 2016. Forbes. Hard Work or Natural Talent? Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2016/11/06/hard-work-or-natural-talent-study-reveals-what-impresses-hiring-managers-the-most/#7068688764cc

Morris, Jim. 2016. The Muse. 6 Life Skills You Better Pick Up if You Want to Succeed at Work. Retrieved from: https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-life-skills-you-better-pick-up-if-you-want-to-succeed-at-work

O’Donnell, J.T. 2016. AOL. Why These 10 Soft Skills Could Catapult Your Career. Retrieved from: http://www.aol.com/article/finance/2016/11/01/why-these-10-soft-skills-could-catapult-your-career/21596313/

Picchi, Aimee. 2016. CBSNews: Moneywatch. Do you have the “soft skills” employers badly need? Retrieved from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/do-you-have-the-soft-skills-employers-badly-need/

Rath, Tom. 2009. Gallup Press. Strengths Finder. Resources found at: http://www.strengthsfinder.com/home.aspx

Robinson, Ryan. 2016. Ryan Robinson. How to Discover and Unleash Your Strengths as an Entrepreneur. Retrieved from: http://www.ryrob.com/discover-strengths-entrepreneur/

Williams, Tina. 2016. Tina Here To Help. Lifelong Learning. Retrieved from: https://tinaheretohelp.com/2016/05/04/lifelong-learning/