2020, I see you. 10 Powerful Questions For Your Inspired Year Ahead

Uncategorized Jan 24, 2020

What's your blueprint for this year ahead? What story will your year tell?

I love resolutions, but I didn't make any this year. What I have been doing during January is thinking deeply about what VISION I have for the year ahead. The HABITS, the GOALS, the GROWTH and the FEELINGS I dream of living out in my life. I've read, prayed, reflected, brainstormed, and dared. I've consulted with wise friends and taken the month to design a path forward this year that I can actually see myself living.

Without a blueprint or vision, I knew I would have more of the same drag and struggles that were in 2019. I had both things to celebrate and things to release (yes, please!) from last year--feeling low energy and lost, dreading "to-do" tasks and routine, overthinking my purpose and direction. I was often stuck. In 2020, I want to STAY IN ACTION. I want to STAY INSPIRED. I want to STAY IN MY PURPOSE.

I want to share with you the reflection questions I used to map out my 2020 vision. I took a few...

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When the "Have-Tos" Overwhelm Us

I've been looking for practical ways to boost my energy and reduce drag in my daily life. Of course I'm taking a look at how I talk about my work and especially the tasks that weigh on me.
I'm in love with the power of words in this life!
Words and stories are how we make sense of and organize life. They don't just shape reality, they are reality. What story I tell myself about my day is my reality.
Right now I have a narrative spinning that I dread groceries, meal planning, and cooking. Why must we re-fuel so often and why must my kids be all about the snacks all of the time? Why do we have to cook and clean up only to start again? Why do I HAVE TO?
It's a simple trick, as the power of semantics often are. But, I'm trying out saying I "GET TO" cook and I "GET TO" plan how we are going to be energized and feel good today. I "GET TO" orchestrate family time around the table. I "GET TO" show my very favorite people in the world that I love them and...
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What’s Your Internal Job Title?

empowerment May 16, 2019

A dear friend recovering from divorce told me it was her banker who gave her the best words of support during the heart-wrenching and upside-down early months of her process. When she worried if as a single woman, she’d be able to manage her own personal budget, the bank advisor said: It’s time to be the CEO of your own life.

Wow! What a job title. And what a shift from her self-talk and worries.

I saw that new title boost her confidence from the moment she heard the words. Over time, the idea re-framed her self-identity.

In the months to follow, it made her take herself seriously and most importantly, to start to discard other bad self-inflicted titles: I’m no good with money. I’ve never done this before, so I’m going to mess it up. I should know how to do this at my age.

I’m illiterate. I’m a screw-up. I’m behind.

What’s your internal job title? What connotations and energy go with it?  

If you’re a caregiver,...

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Finding the Courage to Follow a Passion

find your voice Apr 03, 2019

When I chose to make my life’s work about women’s empowerment, it was a decision that made me do some deep deliberating--unlike my approach to most choices in my life, I admit. I don’t test drive cars, I didn’t apply to more than one college, and I don’t hesitate when an invite to travel pops up--I say yes instantly.  

But in my 20s, when it was my time to choose a path and define myself as a women’s issues scholar and advocate, I took my time to seriously think that over. Every time I tried to say, “This is it! This is my calling!” I felt a heaviness in my chest, a nagging weight. Likely fear, maybe discomfort. Maybe my heartbreak for women and girls.

Why were those feelings blocking my life’s path?

After some conversations with myself, I named the block: It was because in this work, the problems women face can’t be totally solved. I won’t fix them. And, hey self, there’s no end to the work! Women’s...

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Why We Need Girl Empowerment Now

empowerment Jan 03, 2017

In July 2016, SparkVoice launched and soon after started programming that’s fueled by the big dream that women will have strong voices in their lives and pursue their paths with intentionality and confidence—add to that joy and friendship, and the dream is spelled out. It’s a big one.

Since our start, we’ve had some curious people pose the questions, “Why is this just
for girls? Don’t boys need it too?” As the director, I reply cheerfully, “Yes, do you want to start that program?”
No volunteers committed yet, but hopefully that dream takes shape in the future.

Right now we have a keen and clear sense of the need for teen girls to have space to tune into their own voices, to embrace their goals and dreams in a supportive community, and to question cultural norms like how people talk about women and girls.

A top trending story on social media this week covered pop star Arianna Grande standing up to everyday sexism when a young male...

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That Time I heard Kim Kardashian Speak

empowerment Aug 10, 2016

When the BlogHer 2016 conference organizers announced to its group of entrepreneurs and influencers attending that a keynote for the conference would be Kim Kardashian, attendees reacted. “Sure #blogher, you announce this after we’ve all paid to register.” Or, “What’s she going to teach us? How to take nude selfies?”

I was intrigued. I’ve seen one episode of her reality show and in it, she dramatically hid in a hotel closet from fear of a public speaking event. Other clips I’ve seen over the years left me with the impression that most of the dialogue was made up of delayed responses, post glaring at a sister. Cool, calm, and controlled words, and few of them.

So I was intrigued to hear her speak sentence upon sentence to string together a keynote talk to a room full of writers and thinkers. Despite the protest, the audience showed up in force and filled the ballroom. Kim K got quiet applause upon entering, and she sat down in a white...

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The Most Practical Way to Show Love

During my undergraduate college experience I heard the university president speak, and he issued a challenge to the audience that still shapes my everyday life these 16 years since graduation. His topic: Love. That hard-to-pin down, yet easy-to-tout solution to the world’s problems.

All you need is love, love not war, love is the answer, for the love.

“You want to know how to really love people and show love? Do you want to make a difference in your relationships and in your community?” he asked the crowd of college students.

Um, yes. I think I do since love is evidently the answer, but it’s pretty elusive to actually live it out.

“Ask people questions,” he said. “And then, really listen to their answers.”

A simple formula that cut through the noise of a teen’s college experience chock full of being talked at during lectures week after week and full of attending events that issued scores of “here’s the challenge I...

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The Burning Question Behind SparkVoice

Uncategorized Jul 14, 2016

I didn’t expect to have culture shock when I moved to a new city just one county over. But I did. Ventura County has the benefits of easy-access beaches and easy-going attitudes. It has less traffic and less people than LA. I get parking no problem and I get a table at any restaurant with little to no wait.

What I also get is quiet. The shocking quiet that makes a person take a hard look at herself. For me in this slower life and whittled down schedule, I’ve been asking, “Who is Karen?”

Apart from the identity of a professor and mentor for more than a decade and apart from the consuming title of “mom” for the last four years. Apart from the overloaded graduate school schedule and apart from a flurry of friendships and coffee dates, library outings and Disneyland days. Who is Karen?

During the early days of this year I got to work on getting some answers to this question amidst the new life I now had the opportunity to design and craft. It was a...

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