February is all about love…

February is about loveMake a list and write about a new subject you love every day this month

I love…

1.  My family and friends

2.  Writing in my journal to remember, reconcile and ramp up

3. Fortnum & Mason Earl Grey Classic Tea

4.  Any romantic movie with Cary Grant

5.  Learning how other women have lived by reading their own words

6.  Being part of the San Francisco Writers Conference for the past 10 years as a volunteer, Independent Editor, and presenter

7.  The smell of a real Christmas tree

8.  Crisp fall days with the crunch of leaves under foot

9.  Getting my feet rubbed 

10. A tub full of hot water and  scented bubbles

11.  Hearing the words “I love you”

12.  Hearing the words “you’re going to be fine” after surgery

13.  Receiving the “all-clear” on your mammogram reports

14.  Walking on the coastal trail and watching the waves crash on the sand 

15.  Feeling the salt on my lips from the ocean breeze

16.  Eating clam chowder 

17.  Eating pop corn with real butter and watching old movies

18.  Snuggling on the couch with my Sweetie

19.  Getting a phone call from my daughter

20.  Sharing a cuppa with my Tea  Cronies

21.  Attending and performing in live theatre

22.  Playing with my stamps and beads

23.  Helping women gain the confidence to unleash their stories

24.  Traveling around the world and hearing all the stories people have to share without knowing each other’s language

25.  Sharing what I’ve learned from my mentors

26.  Crawling into my cozy bed at the end of a long day

27.  Getting up in the morning to have another chance to make a difference

28.  Witnessing life

[Coaxing Creativity Tuesday Tip] Encouraging words…


Mary "Writer Unleashed" Knippel at Hermitage, Santa Sabina Retreat Center

Mary “Writer Unleashed” Knippel at Hermitage, Santa Sabina Retreat Center

You have the cool, clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth…Oh, I believe in you. I believe in you. 

Lyrics from the popular musical How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

Have you ever received a note of encouragement in the mail at the exact moment you needed to hear positive words?

 For many years I have attended a women’s retreat in Northern California. On the final morning of our retreat, our beloved workshop leader passes out envelopes and 3 x 5 index cards. We are then invited to follow a set of simple instructions:  address the envelope to yourself, write something on the 3 x 5 card, put the index card in the envelope, seal the envelope, then drop the envelope in the box provided in the front of the room. The note can be one word or a paragraph. It could be congratulatory words about how far we’ve come in realizing our dreams, simply a question asking what have we done to bring about the fulfillment of our goals, or a loving reminder to practice the nurturing spirit we experienced while on retreat.

Our retreat leader then takes the box home with her. Six months from the end of our retreat, she stamps the self-addressed letters and mails them. Many, many times I have been delighted to receive the pleasant momento of that spirit-filled weekend and astonished at the prophetic words I’ve written by the Fragile Me attending the retreat to console, inspire and reassure the Future Me who so appreciated receiving the loving gesture.

What better way to honor Effective Communications Month than to communicate with someone we are extremely close to, yet seldom acknowledge her strengths, talents, and passions.

Today take out a pen and some pretty paper, a note card, a post card,  (an index card in an envelope will do) and write a sentence or two in praise of YOU! Not sure what you want to say? OK, write down a favorite quote, or a line of poetry. Something that will inspire you, gives you pause, or evokes a sigh of delight.

What about song lyrics…I believe in YOU!

I’d love to hear what this post has brought up for you.

I can’t wait to see what the mail will bring… 

[Coaxing Creativity Tuesday Tip] Go get ’em squeezed…October is breast cancer awareness month

October is not only a month for pumpkins, ghosts, goblins and pretty fall colors, it is also breast cancer awareness month. A subject many of us are very familiar with. One in eight will be diagnosed with this disease in her lifetime, and all of us are touched by it because someone we know and love has been diagnosed. Embracing creativity as a healing tool helped me on my wellness journey and I’m sure it can do the same for you. 

I’m being playful talking about showing your love by getting them squeezed, but I’m not kidding around. An important part of self-care is preventive measures. I know it is uncomfortable to get a mammogram. Believe me, I know. I’ve been squeezed and pulled more times than I care to remember.

The benefits, however, far outweigh the barrage of excuses women may come up with to avoid this appointment: 

  • I don’t have time (how can you not have the time to do something that has the potential to change your life)
  • I’m not old enough
  • I’m too old
  • I don’t have any symptoms (that’s great!)
  • it sounds painful, my insurance won’t cover it because it’s preventative
  • my insurance only allows it with a doctor’s order
  • I’m afraid if I go they’ll find something so I’d rather not know. 

Whether you are a small business owner feeling the pressure and stress of fulfilling high-quality product orders, delivering outstanding services, or a CEO Mom performing her transportation and requisition duties in between dentist appointments and soccer practice, taking the time to take care of yourself must be at the top of your To Do list.

Please, schedule that mammogram! Your life depends on it!

What do you love?

February is for lovers, so they say, and I’m just curious about what you love.

Apple pie? Mom? A yellow ’66 Mustang with a rag top? Purple sunsets? Fresh baked bread? Romance novels? Writing with a fountain pen in your journal (yes that’s one of mine)? Your daughter (or son)? Your husband (or significant other)? Your siblings? Riding your bike? Surfing (waves/internet)? Your business? Your clients/customers? What about writing? Do you love writing about your business, your life, your hobbies, your passions?

How do you let others know how you feel and how do you express your love?

May your heart remain open – Coaxing Creattivty Tuesday Tip Feb. 15, 2011

Stock Photography Search Royalty Free Images  Photos  iStockphoto com#a9629ccToday’s tip is actually part of a meditation by Dr. Joan Borysenko, a noted author and lecturer who brings spirit, science, medicine and psychology together in the service of healing. While February is the month with lots of talk about love, being in love and acts of love, here are a few beautiful words that I feel speak to the true spirit of love.

May you be at peace,

May your heart remain open,

May you awaken to the light of

your own true nature,

May you be healed,

May you be a source of healing for all beings.

Forget and Forgive – Coaxing Creativity Tuesday Tip Dec. 28, 2010


This time of year can be challenging when we are encouraged to love our fellow man, which is all well and good when it comes to the strangers we encounter at the grocery store or the supermarket. However,  when our fellow “man” includes our pushy cousin, obnoxious older brother, or a meticulous teacher, that love business may not happen too easily. The truth is the act of forgiveness benefits us as much as the one we forgive. Maybe even more. Putting the past behind us and moving on with our lives creates room for joy, hope, and excitement about new possibilities. I’m ready for a little of that! Let’s put 2010 to bed, and welcome 2011 – a new, grand adventure!

Coaxing Creativity Conversations March 2010

March is a marvelous combination of endings and beginnings. We experience the last cold blast of winter and glimpse of tender green shoots of the promise of spring. Growing up in the Midwest, we eagerly looked forward to the first snowfall. That meant days missed from school and time to play. By March, the snow and rain made roads full of deep, muddy ruts, and us longing for warm, sunny days. I remember how March meant freedom from being bundled up in heavy coats and having to wear ugly rubber boots. We could breathe fresh air from open windows instead of the smell of damp mittens on hissing radiators. Our spirits felt lighter. The promise of blossoms on the lilac bushes could not be far behind. We have opportunities to shed past attitudes, which have frozen our hearts and create a new destiny; a new dream wrapped in love and full of good fortune.

March offers us opportunities to recognize our triumphs in celebrating National Women’s History Month and Small Press Month; our creativity in celebrating International Ideas Month and National Craft Month; our tendencies to indulge in a caffeine habit observing National Caffeine Awareness Month; and the prospect of opening new channels of communication during International Listening Awareness Month.

Listen Up! That is my challenge to all of us in acknowledging March as Listening Awareness Month. I would like us to take this opportunity to listen, I mean really listen, and to what is not said and how the communications are arriving. Listen to the stress messages from our bodies, minds, and spirits. Learn simple, affective ways to cope with that stress. List a plan of action to help us follow through on the new behaviors we have discovered.

I saw tiny shoots on the lilac bush in my front yard today and listened to birds singing for me. Whether you observe Listening Awareness Month by sitting in the backyard hearing the wind in the trees, walking in the neighborhood with the strains of lawn mowers, or absorbing comments during a conversation, my wish is that you do it with a new sense of wonder and understanding.

Coaxing Creativity Conversations Feb 2010

They say February is for lovers. So focus your love close to home. February is Boost Your Self-Esteem Month. Boost your self-esteem with demonstrations of self-love because you are most deserving of your own attention for affection. Consider observing boosting your self-esteem; not just as a temporary indulgence on Valentine’s Day, but as a way of life. Don’t wait for a special occasion to wear your favorite pair of earrings. Put on make-up in the morning even if your reflection in the mirror is the only face you’ll see all day. Give yourself permission to indulge in a special chocolate treat, splurge on a favorite meal, soak in the tub with lots of scented bubbles and a new paperback, or eat popcorn for dinner and watch a movie on a weeknight (no, don’t fold laundry and empty the dishwasher – sit down and watch the whole thing without multi-tasking).

Writing a journal entry about a specific accomplishment or milestone is a major self-esteem booster. I’ll share one that has been seven years in the making. I have volunteered for several years for The San Francisco Writers Conference (www.SFWriters.org), a prestigious 3-day conference and the brainchild of legendary agents Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen. It features blockbuster keynote speakers, award winning workshop presenters, and attendees in the hundreds from all over the world. The first year my comfort level only allowed me to babysit the purses in the Volunteer lounge. This year, I was invited to chair the “Book Doctor Panel.”

Mary counseling a writer at SFWC

Mary counseling a writer at SFWC

This is a conference-long marathon event where attendees spend five minutes one-on-one with Independent Editors. I am no longer content to relegate myself to the shadows. As the Book Doctor Coordinator, I claimed my position as a professional sharing my expertise with eager attendees, and as a peer with other writers awash in the wealth of knowledge shared at the conference.

Successful writers confident in their literary skills intimidate me. Many speakers and workshop presenters over the weekend impressed me. I made up my mind to show up in my life and go after my dreams rather than stay in safe situations. This year, instead of  wishing I were brave enough to be like the speakers and presenters, I sat up front, engaged with them during their talks, gave them positive feedback, and asked for advice. Do you know what they did? They gave me advice and thanked me for showing up!

Let’s all keep showing up!