How to Sympathize When We Are Traumatized as a Nation

‘’Today was the Boston Marathon, a true tradition in the City, run since 1897 on Patriots Day. There were 96 Countries represented with a total of 27,000 participants. The 26th mile-marker had been clearly denoted as a dedication for the 26 Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims from last December. Several parents from the School were running the marathon also. This was supposed to be a joyous day, happy for the City, prestigious for the runners, and meaningful for many. Instead, it turned out to be a bloody war-zone at the finish line when two bombs exploded within 20 seconds apart. Dear God, where are we safe in a land that touts freedom for all?’’

~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall


how to sympathize when traumatized When the bombs blasted, sending 140 people to hospitals, killing three, and seriously injuring  many, people were left running for their lives just like on 9/11/2001.  Smoke filled the air and what was short-lived bliss had been replaced with complete chaos.

The scene was an ugly one, according to the reporters and all the photos streaming through the Internet.  I didn’t even know about the deadly incident until I sat down with my laptop and turned it on to start writing. Then, the news streamed in through CNN. My heart was sick, so sick in fact that I felt like puking.

Tents that had been set up to hydrate the runners were now becoming Triage Units until the ambulances could arrive. Several people, both runners and bystanders, had missing limbs. The sight was horrific. Hospitals later reported removing pieces of shrapnel and performing amputations.

So, what can us as friends and a community, do to help those who are suffering pain and loss from this or any other tragedy? 

The following is a list of the six most helpful things to offer immediately following disaster or traumatization:            

  • The first thing to do is to comfort your friend, co-worker, neighbor, or family member and let them know you will always be there emotionally for them. This is ultimately the most important thing for the one who has suffered a loss to know.
  • Assure the one who has suffered the loss that you will not leave or abandon them physically. You will stick by their side as best as you can.
  • Arrange for professional help, either with a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, or Life Coach for ongoing treatment. Group therapy and talks are very helpful in many cases of emotional or psychological trauma.
  • Ask the one who needs the help if you can accompany them or drive them to their physician or therapist’s appointments. It is not uncommon for those who suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) to decide they no longer need help, when in fact, they do. One way to ensure they receive treatment and help is by driving them.
  • Remember that we as humans, all process information differently. This means, we will have our good days and at other times, those in need will have a ‘’bad’’ day for no apparent reason. The tiniest little noise, sound, or smell may set them off. Learn to recognize your friend’s triggers so you can help deal with them.
  • Self-care is of the utmost importance. Secondary trauma is very common when one has endured a hardship for an extended period of time with their partner, friend, or loved one.  You must learn how to care for yourself and give some tender loving care to your own self so you can be the best you can be for others. 

How do we stay soft-hearted through life’s turmoil and endless tragedies?  Do we become ‘hard’ around the edges, not caring about our brothers and sisters on the streets, and only think of ourselves?  I learned years ago that when we give of ourselves, we only have more and more to give. I remember explaining this concept to my youngest son when he was seven years old. I told him this is like love. The more love you give, the more love you have to give away again.

So, while the idiots or terrorists who want to harm people do their crap for attention-seeking purposes, let us pray, plan, and have a bigger vision that we will see sympathy towards others one day regardless of where they live, what they do, and what socioeconomic status they are.

I believe in love, sympathy, and compassion for all.  God bless you.

Perfection Just Sucks: How to Progress in a Perfect World

“I am a real sickie. At least I know this about myself and admit it. As a young child, I would get upset if my school papers were less than perfect. I would do them over and over again to ensure that perfect A+ score. Most of the other kids in elementary and junior high school were more concerned with playing outside or hooking up by the time 8th grade rolled around. But, not me. No, you would find me at my desk, whether that be in school or at home, doing my school work for the fifth or sixth time. I don’t even think my parents ever knew this about me. Perfection just sucks – How to Progress in a Perfect World. I wondered if I was crazy, because none of my friends did this.”

~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall

Know Your Truth!

It was a beautiful day today. I peeked out when I saw the sun and then took my laptop outside to work when I realized it was in the 70’s. The sunshine was raking through the trees, birds were singing, the wind chimes were clanging and dancing, and a slight breeze was blowing the day-lilies that have already come up for the spring season. I cleaned off the cushions on the patio furniture in the back yard and sat under the pergola. Time passed by, as I wrote an article for a joint business venture I am involved in. The afternoon was so pleasant. I looked up a couple of times from my typing at the keyboard and noticed some weeds that needed to be pulled in the flower gardens. Then I saw some leaves in the beds that needed to be picked up. The patio could have used a good sweeping, also. Just as easily as I had sat down, noticed the beauty of the day, and had gotten some work done, the ‘’perfection monster’’ and my OCD came sneaking in. Oh, how I hate it when that happens.


How much of our lives are spoiled or frittered away by neurotic insistence on perfection? Do you feel like you have to constantly be perfect in the most perfect world? Is this a ‘’you’’ thing, or is it that our world expects us to be perfect all the time? Haven’t you had enough of this crap?

Here are Three Quick Tips on How to Progress in a Perfect World:

  1. Learn to love the authentic YOU. Love your flaws, your freckles, your moles, your hair, your skin, your curves, your nails, your lips, your eyes, and those wrinkles you have earned on your face. There is only one you on this entire earth. Think about that. You were made just perfect, exactly like you are today. The very first step to progressing in a perfect world is to love yourself just as you are, because you are beautiful.
  2. Notice the beauty in simple things around you. Is there something about that one light fixture that is unique? Does a pillow in your home make you feel good? What about a certain blanket or old quilt? Does either of those two ‘comfy’ things hold special memories for you? Try this same task with a friend of yours. Go into their home and ask them what makes them feel good. Ask them what their comfort food is. Dream a little with your friend and ask them where they’d like to go. More than likely, it won’t be to the most perfect place on earth, but it will surely be the most perfect place for them. Do you get the picture?
  3. Learn to be less judgmental of those you spend the most time with. This is very important. The five people you talk with (even if it is on the phone), spend the most time with, and associate with are the same type of people you will turn out like. This means that if you constantly put others down, disrespect other people, or think you are better than everyone else, you will find yourself lonely very quickly. Learn to be humble and thankful for what you have. Be thankful you are NOT perfect. It is difficult and lonely to live at the top of the mountain and there is nowhere to go but down once you are there.


Think what it would be like to have to be perfect all the time. Movie stars, rock stars, and athletes have their lives and faces in the camera’s lens at all times. They are rarely shielded from us, the public. We are eagerly waiting for their screw-ups, like sharks, ready to attack them. We watch what they wear, what they eat, what they say, what they do, follow all of their actions, and even seem to know instantly when they have affairs. Perfection leaves little room for advancement, joy, or acceptance. I think I’ll stick with my life…you know…the simple one – writing articles under my pergola, while listening to leaves blowing, birds singing, and wind chimes dancing in the breeze.

How about you? Can you make progress in a perfect world and give up the life of chasing perfection?

©Copyright – Gayle Joplin Hall, PhD.  All rights reserved worldwide.  None of this material may be downloaded or reproduced without written permission from the author.


Loveless and Lonely: What To Do If You Are Not a Smitten Kitten on Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's Day


“Valentine’s Day is the most romantic holiday of the year. Many women dredge through all of the previous holidays of the year beforehand, just waiting for this holiday to roll around. Lovers celebrate with champagne or expensive wines, dinners out at beautiful restaurants, gifts of jewelry, and God knows, chocolate and even more chocolate. But, for all the single ladies out there who are not in a relationship or who have nobody, this can also be one of the most depressing, lonely times of the year. How does one make it through Lover’s Day?”

~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall


Have you ever been alone on Valentine’s Day?  I am here to tell you that I have been alone on Valentine’s Day and even worse than that, I have been in relationships in the past, where I was not alone, but I was so lonely that I wanted to be ALONE. Being with someone who does not love and adore you is far worse than being alone. In either scenario, you are left feeling rather loveless. This is a really crappy, deserted feeling.

What compounds feeling loveless and lonely? Let’s face it. From the moment all of the Christmas things are removed from the retail shelves, Valentine racks are put up and displayed in retail shops. Just walking past Victoria’s Secret Retail Boutique is a killer. The lingerie is so darn sexy. It is saying, “Put this on your body. Your man will be smitten and not be able to resist you.” If you go into the shop and start flipping through the racks, a sales associate will approach you and begin her dialogue with something akin to, “That little corset with a pair of thigh-highs is sure to turn him on.” The Victoria Secret Sales Associate never thinks about the fact that you may be single or without a partner. Burn…sizzle…zing…one more flame to the pain of not having a true love on Valentine’s Day. It never dawns on her that you may want to dress yourself to feel sexy.

Every Hallmark store, every Walgreen or other drug stores, all of the Target stores across the nation and in other countries, are filled with cards made for lovers on Valentine’s Day. As I select cards with the perfect sentiments for my parents, I am left feeling dull and lifeless. What about those of us with no lover, no man or partner to buy a card for, and even worse, we know that we will not be receiving a card from a lover? To top off this feeling of solitude, we know that during the Valentine week at work, our friends and colleagues will be receiving gifts from their lovers to brightly display on their desks. When the front desk clerk brings back that beautiful flower arrangement or box of chocolates, it will not be for us. This just adds more agony to the open wound. So, what can we do during Lover’s Week if we have no lover or intimate partner to share the big day with?

Here are Three Burning Flashes of Smitten Kitten Ways to Fall in Love:

•  Forget about a man already and fall in love with things you have been taking for granted. Take a look around…no, I don’t mean just glance around the room you are in as you are reading this. I mean to really take a strong, defined look at every object, every person in your life, and your world as it is today. What do you have that you can and should be thankful for? Do you have a roof over your head and a warm home to live in? Do you have food to eat every night? Do you have healthy children? Are you able to keep steady employment? Can you pay your bills on time, even if it means juggling them from month-to-month? Do you have a good friend?  I have just named six things that most of us have every single day, yet we take these for granted. Really study your life and then make a list of what you have to be grateful for. Promise yourself that you will read your list each morning or night. You will discover that you can fall in love with your life just the way it is right now, once you realize this is part of the “plan.”

 •  Decide that it is okay to be alone on Valentine’s Day, or any other day of the year. Hundreds of thousands of women do not have partners. You are not the only woman who is without a man on Valentine’s Day. If you try to force a relationship or love, it never works out. Never. I am here to tell you that living alone or being alone is one thousand times better than being in a relationship and feeling lonely.  So, you must be asking what I am talking about.  There have been times in the past, where I was in a relationship with a man, yet I was not listened to, not complimented, not ever brought gifts, and not even acknowledged. During meals, my husband would read, instead of talking with me.  As I look back now on some of my past relationships and the mistakes I made, I know why I did what I did. I was afraid to be alone by myself. Shamefully, I admit this to all of you who are reading this right now. I was so fearful of not having a man in my life that I would “settle” for a less-than-the-best man for me.  Oh how I wasted so many years of my life on unworthy men.  Please do not make these same mistakes.  

• Become a “Smitten Kitten” and fall madly in love with yourself.  Go all out on Valentine’s Day and do whatever you can afford to make it an enjoyable day for yourself. I am dead serious.  If you are low on funds, here are a couple of ideas to brighten your day. Carry flowers (that you purchased the night before from your local grocery store and arranged in a pretty vase that you had on hand at home) in with you when you go to work. When someone asks you where they came from, proudly announce, “These are a gift I gave myself!”  Dig out a vintage scarf or one you haven’t worn for a while and tie it on your handbag, wear a different color of lip gloss than you normally do, or instead of purchasing your beloved brand of heels, try buying a less expensive pair and wear those on Valentine’s Day just so you will have a new delight.  For those who can afford to spend a little more money, indulge yourself at the perfume counter and purchase that new fragrance you have wanted to try, buy the new Louis Vuitton handbag, go out for dinner at an upscale Sushi Bar, and have drinks at a Wine Bar after that. Be brazen enough to go alone or stay at home and enjoy your solitude.


This is not a syndrome or feeling that is isolated just for women.  Once you have learned to love yourself fully, then you are ready for meeting and mingling with men. Remember that men are also alone and lonely. You simply must put yourself out there. Even if you try online dating (which I did for five years) you still must be willing to take chances if you want to find love.

Please do not forget your girlfriends on Valentine’s Day. If you have single girlfriends and you know they have a difficult time on that day, send them a card in the mail. This simple gesture means so much and it just does not take that much effort.  One little act of love can go so far and mean the world to a friend.

Curl up with a good book, watch a movie you have been wanting to see, drink a cup of hot cocoa or make a Cosmopolitan, talk on the phone with a friend, or do whatever makes your heart sing on Valentine’s Day if you are alone.  Whatever it takes, do not be lonely, just because you are alone.  Become that “Smitten Kitten” and fall in love with yourself over and over again, you beautiful goddess.



Cry Baby, Cry. Then, Get Over Him and Become Your Own Best Lover

professional lifestyle coaching

“February is the month for lovers. That’s just great if you are wildly in love with your best friend – you know – the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.  But what happens when your partner bails on you? What happens when he tells you that he has been secretly seeing another woman for the past five years of your relationship and just “has to get it off his chest?” What happens when your whole world comes swirling down, right along with your panties, and everything falls flat on the floor?  Yes, this happened to me and it hurt. It hurt like hell and it broke my heart. How was I ever going to recover from a blow like that?”

~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall

I am trying to think if there has ever been a time that I have been glad a relationship was over and you know, there has. There have been several times during dating and also, during my second marriage, when I was so ecstatic the relationship had ended, I wanted to sing and dance and scream it out to the world.  And so, I did. But…when you are  fully loving your partner or are newly ‘in love’ – only to discover that your guy does not feel the same way about you, it hurts.  If cheating is involved, it is a devastating heartbreaker and there is no easy way to soften that blow.

Soothing your heart takes time after a break up.  Various things work for different people. What I always needed were a couple of really great girlfriends to listen and cry with, a good bottle of wine, and lots of chocolate to make me feel better. That is what worked for me. Every single time any man has broken my heart, I have not wanted another man to replace him. But, for whatever reason, there has always been knocking at my door within a very short time frame.  It took me years to realize this was, more often than not, definitely not the wise decision to make…going out right away after a break-up. No matter what anyone says, your heart must heal. Time is the only thing that mends the broken pieces of your heart and soul so all can join together again as a whole. No other partner can provide an instant ‘fix.’  That’s called a re-bound.

So, what can we do to mend our broken hearts? That kind of sounds like a song from a long time ago, doesn’t it? Seriously, what can you do to get past the open wounds left by your lover and move forward?  First, you must have a really good, long, hard cry. Then;


Get Over Him and Become Your Own Best Lover With These Four Tips:

• Love yourself first. Now, this may sound silly or even ridiculous, but it is not. As women, we are taught to be the nurturing ones. From the time we are very young and play with dolls, we are groomed to ‘take care of them’ in every way. We cook for our little dollies, we pick out their wardrobes, we help them drive their cars, and we teach them how to take care of their ‘ouchies.’  This nurturing process carries straight into adulthood. How many women reading this right now even realized that? My guess is not too many. Therefore, it is difficult, if not impossible, for some women to learn to love themselves first, before all others. This is especially tough if one has young children in the household.  Just remember the old saying, “If Momma isn’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Love yourself so much that you have more loving to spread around to everyone else because you feel so darned good!

• Avoid the desire and yearning to text, call, or see your Ex…the one who broke your heart. Under no certain terms should you make contact with your partner for any reason, unless you have children with him. This is an absolute rule. I know you have the desire and knife-stabbing hurt of all the ‘whys’ in your mind…why did he not tell you earlier, why did he have to be so sneaky, why did he clean out the bank account, why did he leave you hanging with no car to drive or even worse, why did he leave you with an $800. per month lease car in your name that he was paying for? The very best thing you can do for yourself is to forget about him and thank your lucky stars that this jerk screwed up now and not ten years from now. I promise you that.

• Masturbate. Okay, so don’t freak out. You are reading the text correctly, so don’t act like you did not see the word. You can love on yourself without having a man around. Some of the best sex is often by yourself. If you have never experienced an orgasm with a man, perhaps it is because you have not experienced it by yourself. What better time to really learn your own body than when you are alone? Buy a good vibrator, take long hot baths, light some scented candles, set the mood to ignite your senses, and play. Touch your body and feel all of your curves, the folds of your skin, and caress every tiny inch on your gorgeous female body. Get to know yourself and learn how to bring yourself pleasure. When in the shower, be sure you have a hand-held shower massage that pulsates. Play with it and take your time. You will not regret learning how to turn yourself on. Become your own best lover so that when it is time to bring a partner into your love life, you can show him exactly how you like to be pleased.  Your partner will appreciate this also!

• Treat yourself regularly, or as often as you can, to a massage, a facial, or even just getting your nails done. Get out and do the ‘girl’ thing with some big time pampering – whatever you can afford. If you have the money, go overboard when you’ve been slammed by your used-to-be lover and learn to be your own best lover. Go buy that beautiful handbag you’ve had your eye on and do some retail therapy!  If you are not in a situation where you can just go out and spend big bucks, you can still splurge on yourself. Back when I had little or no money, I could not understand this concept. Ladies, listen up. It costs virtually nothing to rally your best girlfriend, have a sleep-over, pop in a good movie, paint each other’s toenails and do a manicure, share a couple of drinks or green tea (if you are non-drinkers), go to bed together super late and sleep in, get up and cook breakfast together, slurp coffee or tea while sitting outside wrapped up in fuzzy robes, and talk until your voice gets scratchy. There is nothing in the world like the comfort of a bestie. No man can replace your best girlfriend.


Healing is not an easy path, but it is worth the painstaking effort and so are you.  No words can truly describe a broken heart, regardless of all the books and poetry that have been written for centuries. This one thing you must be certain of. YOU are worthy of pure, unconditional love. Sometimes we must look a lifetime to find this love. There have been times that I felt like I would only have this type of love from my parents. That hurt my heart so much.  Then, I took my own advice and learned to love myself first. Now I can say that I am the happiest, most loving person I know. And, you can be the happiest, most loving person you know, also.

How to Set Goals That Will Rev Up Your Engine and Drive Your Mission

goal setting rev up your engine

“As a child, I was challenged to keep goals. In elementary school, I was forced to write out weekly tasks and then turn in a sheet showing each task with little check marks as accomplishments. My third-grade teacher made us do this as a class and was critical with me…not for partial goal-setting, but for over-achieving my goals each week. Not only would I complete each goal, I would write out the extra things I did after that goal. As I look back now, I realize that even as a young child, I was very set on timeliness, goal-setting, and getting chores done’’

~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall

How does one set goals that will actually get done? Is there a magical wand to this? As a former Professor, I created a Roadmap to Goal-Setting ™ and shared this with my students. It is four pages long (too long for here), so I’m writing and sharing a short, seven- point-bulleted-check-list and providing it here. Guess what? There is a way to set attainable goals so you can achieve them. Forget most of what you’ve ever been told and put on your seat belt. This is the real deal to achieving your goals.

Rev Up Your Engine and Drive Your Mission With This Mini-Map For Goal Setting.  The following are Seven Points That Will Increase Your Success by 100%:

I.  Write down your goals. Let me say this again. WRITE!  If you just talk about what you’d like to happen, it is highly unlikely that your goals will ever happen. The most successful people are those who write their goals down and then mark them off as they go. Plus, nothing is more exciting than seeing those big check marks next to completed tasks!

II.  Have a set time of day that you write down your goals. Either do it first thing in the morning as you look over your schedule, or do it the very last thing at night when you are ready to quit working. If you set a specific time of day for goal writing, this is almost as important as actually writing down the goals themselves. Get in the habit of doing this. The time that works best for me is very late – it is the last thing I do before I go to bed. I leave my goals hand-written out on my tablet, resting in my office chair. You will figure out what is best for you after the first week or so.

III.  There are different types of goal-setting. One very important key is to be able to see results. For this to happen, you must set short-term goals in the beginning. Set daily goals. List the small, doable goals first and get them done quickly so you can feel a sense of accomplishment each day. Then move on to your bigger goals on your sheet for the day. Mark them off as you get them completed.

IV.  Weekly goals can be added to your list, after you have learned how to write and master daily goals. If something needs carried over from one day to the next or from one week to the next, simply do that on your list. We all have to make adjustments to our schedule.

V.  Short-term planning still includes monthly goal setting. If goal-setting is brand new to you or if you have not had success with this before, go slowly and work it day-by-day, week-by-week, and then move on to monthly planning. Do NOT get overwhelmed, feel like you cannot do it, or get freaked out. YOU CAN DO THIS WITH PRACTICE!

VI.  You are ready to move on to long-term planning when you can keep a relatively maintained calendar with goals achieved for a period of three+ months. What this means is this…start to plan months ahead for special events, recurring daily chores or tasks, vacations, etc. Long-term planning can be anywhere from six months from now throughout your lifespan. Always remember that adjustments can be made and will have to be made. That is perfectly okay!

VII.  See yourself living the life you have planned! This is super important for you to actually think about what you will see first thing in the morning when you open your eyes. What will you taste, smell, and do BEFORE you get started on your goals for the day? Is meditation part of your life plan, or perhaps stretching before breakfast? Visualize yourself in the home you’ve planned, doing what your heart desires, and this will help surge you towards your goals even more quickly.


You will find your life becoming so much smoother, so much easier to glide through the days, the weeks, the months, and the years if you have effective goal-setting in place.  I have just provided you with my top seven-pointers that are sure to ‘’Rev Up Your Engine and Drive Your Mission.’’ Grab your pen, smart phone, or computer and write down that first goal!


Slow Down to Speed Up

keep focused on the horizon

                 “Have you ever been forced into a situation where you had to slow down to speed up?  It kind of feels like you are watching a merry-go-round, you know, those pretty little colored ponies, all decorated to the mint, in candy-colors and bows, just waiting for children and adults to jump on them after carefully making the perfect selection.  How long since you have seen a merry-go-round? Or, better yet, how long since you have been on one? Did you find the prefect horse to sit on or did you play it safe and sit on one of the café-style benches?  Do you remember how the operator of the ride slowed down the system and stopped it so you could get on, before speeding it back up again? Sure you do. Well, that is how my life has been for the past eight days. I’ve had to slow down to speed up’’

~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall.

                I faced an incident that set me back a few days and although it was major in detail, it was nothing compared with what many of my friends have dealt with recently. I answer the phone all day long in my job as a Lifestyle Coach, set appointments, and help people deal with their stuff and get real so they can get happy. Hearing someone else get happy after lots of work on their part and knowing they have made a major breakthrough, makes me extremely happy, too. But this past year was different. The end of 2012 was difficult for so many people and for us as a society here in the United States. Perhaps it was difficult abroad also, but I did not travel out of the Country after fifth of December, so I am unaware of the feelings of others besides those here in the U.S.

Nobody wanted to talk about it…the massacre of the Newtown children and teachers…after the Press and camera crews were done with it. This was not a good thing. In fact, it was bad. My own sister who lives near there on the East Coast and teaches kindergarten, had to deal with it in her school, plus she is raising her own eight-year-old granddaughter. Everyone was frightened, from parents, children, teachers, administrators, emergency personnel, and legislators.  Our society went crazy for a little bit and was in a state of frenzy. We were all running around, instead of slowing down to just B-E.

I found myself time and time again returning to my favorite place of comfort in my home. I have a quiet place in my home office that is my Zen Zone. It is a black rug, with cushy, comfy coral, pink, and red pillows.  What can you do to instantly slow down and find your place of Zen to just B-E? Here are three quick steps:

1). Whether you are at work or at home, seclude a quiet place and make this your ‘’retreat.’’ Let everyone else near you know that you are not to be bothered when you are in your special place just B-E-I-N-G.

2). Light candles, have special rocks to rub, a small fountain you can turn on, or other soothing options in or around your ‘’Zone’’ or ‘’Retreat.’’ I love the smell of candles and have never worked anywhere, whether it is in my home or in a regular office, without having them lit. Additionally, you can have reed diffusers or packaged fragrances in the room to achieve the aromas you want or need for a calming effect.

3). Write. Use a pretty journal or even just keep a spiral notebook handy for when you need to slow down and feel like writing. Some people love to use their computer to keep an online journal. For my clients who say they keep an online journal, I actually ask them to share that with me. I don’t read the words, but often, I have found clients are just using social media as a method of escaping, instead of writing their feelings or thoughts down.


                As we were all trying to go back to what was ‘normal’ some families were working on what their new normal would be for the rest of their lives. I had eight, yes eight, friends who lost a family member in a two-week period during the end of December. While many were singing ‘’Fa la la’’ those friends were grieving and trying to cope with what would be a new 2013. Grieving is different for every single person and knows no time. Time stands still when there is a tragedy or loss. One must slow down.

                So the next time you are inclined to stomp on the gas pedal in your car, slow down and see who is on the road next to you. You may have to speed up to catch the love of your life as he speeds by in the car two lanes ahead of you. Slow down so you can miss that flight to Paris, only to be put on a train once landed in Germany for Prague, where once again you will speed up and meet a lifelong friend who just happens to be on that train with you. None of it would have worked out unless you had slowed down. Slow down, before you miss out on your life. I have, and you really should try it also. When you slow down, then you can speed up where you need to, instead of rushing through all of life and forgetting to savor those special little pony rides. We are all creating moments to be cherished. This life is amazing and grand.


How to Enjoy the Holidays Without Feeling Holi-Dazed

for those who are lonely

“When I was young and had children still at home, we would put up our Christmas tree the week after Thanksgiving.  Twenty years ago, that was early.  We were the first ones in our neighborhood to have our big tree up right in the living room in front of the window.  It was like “Look at us, we did it, here is our tree and presents!”  The children were so excited, as this was a real family event.  We would play Christmas music as we decorated the tree.  I would bring out the presents that had been hidden for the past month, and we would have hot chocolate and a special dinner the night we decorated our tree. It was all a big deal.  I’m not sure when I began to dislike it, but I think it started when my kids left home. No, it was when my mother got cancer”

~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall

Every year, the retail stores are rushing to beat each other out as to who is ‘first in line’ to bust out the Christmas decorations.  I clearly remember in the early 90’s, stores started shelving their new decorations for Christmas right after Halloween.  That seemed so early to me.  Now, some stores put up their Christmas decorations in July, right after the fourth.  It’s like, “Please, can’t we just enjoy our beautiful fall sweaters, new boots and coats, and the turning of the leaves without seeing Christmas stuff everywhere?  What ever happened to long walks in the fall season, holding hands, curling up in front of the fire with a good book or games, and raking piles of those stunning leaves?”  Now, we are all in this big rush to bring on Christmas.  Or are we all guilty as charged?

I must admit that back in the day of decorating my tree, well, I really did it up big.  It took me almost an entire month to decorate my entire house inside.  I had bows tied on everything.  Garland and ivy were strung to every mantle and hearth.  I custom-made Christmas stockings and one year, I stenciled all of the gift-wrapping designs on each present.  I was quite the little Susie-Q Handy-Girl.  Presents were carefully selected as early as June and hidden away until time for wrapping.  I was so organized that now I realize this was just part of my OCD tendency for completion to details.  Once I was divorced and was raising my baby son by myself, I started putting up SIX Christmas trees.  Yes, six trees were in my home.  I had one, nine-foot tree in the family room and then also, there were five three-foot trees in other rooms of the house.  My son had his own tree with little cars on it and in my bedroom, I had a pink tree with little shoes and purses hanging on it.  The kitchen had its own tree with china doll tea set collections.  Now, when I look back, I think to myself, “How ridiculous.”  People would come from miles away just to see my Christmas decorated home.  The one thing I did not do was to overspend.  I always stayed within my budget.

Things changed drastically when my mother got cancer. I did not put up a tree that year.  Christmas seemed commercial and fake to me all of a sudden.  Perhaps I needed a slap in the face to come back to the true meaning of what Christmas is all about.  I had fallen into the trap of retail crap and had forgotten about the birthday of Christ, the meaning of family, and the value of life itself.  Sadly, I had been a victim of retail monopoly.  For about eight years after my mother got cancer, I did not put up any trees.  In fact, I gave them away, as well as all of my decorations.  I took them down to the Salvation Army.  All I wanted to do was to spend time with my mother and prayed so hard for her to recover.  She has survived for 12 years.  And, I want at least 20 more years with my mom.

So, by now you must be asking why I wrote this article about Christmas and the holidays.  The reason is because I am already receiving calls from those needing advice on how to deal with the stress of the Holi-Daze.  People are booking appointments with me, asking for advice on how to juggle so many activities, parties, and family functions.  And, then there are those who have nobody at this time of year.  This is very lonely and stressful, especially for single parents or the elderly.

The following are: Five Quick Tips for Turning Your Dazed Days Into Holidays You Can Enjoy.

1)      Slow down.  As silly as this might sound, just please do not feel like you have to be on a wild, crazy clock to get everything completed within a certain time-frame.  The truth is, you don’t.

2)      Prioritize what needs to be done first.  This will require some goal-setting.  Once you do this, you will not feel so pressured to get everything done immediately.

3)      Enjoy the moments as they happen.  Simply stated, if you are constantly focused on where or what needs to be done tomorrow, you cannot enjoy today.  Then, you are robbing not only yourself of YOU, but also, you are cheating others out of what and who you are all about.

4)      Decide what and who really matters to you in your life.  Now, I know this will not be a point that some may take kindly to, but I promised to always tell the truth.  And, the truth is this.  If you are constantly trying to please everyone, even people you do not like or enjoy being around, this means you are spending less time with those who you do enjoy spending time with.  Time is precious and can never be replaced.  Use it wisely and don’t let anyone take time who is not worthy of you.

5)      Learn to say “NO.”  Some people have a difficult time saying “no” to those they don’t especially care for, to parties they do not want to attend, to family members who are constantly dragging them down, or whatever that bugs them.  Just say “no” when you need to.  You will be much happier in the long run.


If you find time on your hands and want to do something for humanity, you can always offer your services at the local shelter and provide babysitting, work in a soup kitchen, or visit the isolated elderly.  Many elderly people cannot leave their homes.  The only time they have companionship is when Meals on Wheels brings them food.  Did you know this?  It is a fact and is very sad.  The isolated elderly just want someone to talk with.  A couple of hours each week means so much to a person who does not have anyone.  This is the biggest gift you can give to someone…the gift of YOU and your time.

Blessings to all this holiday season, wherever you are, and whatever you do.  May all of your wishes come true.  Mine have, just by being here with you, in spirit and in love.


After Ten Years in a Relationship With My Partner, How Do I Keep It Hot and Sizzling?

keep the fire burning




“I am not going to act like it is easy to keep a marriage or partnership together after ten years or more, because it is not.  Quite frankly, having a healthy marriage over a decade takes a lot of work.  One of my marriages lasted for 17 years.  We went out on regular dates even when we were dirt poor.  My husband (at that time) gave me many compliments and seemed to adore me. I valued him as my husband and as the father of my two children. I never took him for granted.  Marriage is not stress-free, but when it works, there is nothing better”

~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall

A partnership and or marriage is a beautiful union of two people when it is full of love and fun.  One hopes this will keep you inspired throughout your life. However, that same partnership or marriage runs the risk of getting dusty and dreary over the course of years.  Many times, the partnership becomes “lifeless” as years go by because couples tend to focus on the stresses of daily life.  They may ignore the cherished relationship that they should be working on with their own partners.

When you feel such a case is starting to slowly eat away at your union, this is the time that you should start to act on it, and I do mean to act on it quickly.  This is a perfect signal that you should work to keep your relationship hot and sizzling, which may be something that has died out after years of monotonous activities. Bring back the sizzle and spark that you used to have, like when you were just starting out in the relationship.  Do you remember that  vigor and enthusiasm?  This is really never too difficult to accomplish, especially if both of you are willing to work on it together.

Keep in mind that a strong partnership requires a firm foundation to lean on, plus a lot of work. With patience and effort, you can surely succeed in bringing the relationship back to bliss and making it more exciting. The romance and passion within a relationship do not have to decline as the years go by.  The key is to revive the romantic sizzle with persistence and heartfelt endeavors.  Please read the five keys to keep a relationship hot and sizzling.

Five Blazing Keys to Keep a Relationship Hot and Sizzling

  1. Go out on a date with your partner:  Date nights will both give you and your partner intimate times together. This is the time when you will think nothing except only the things about the both of you and your love for each other. This date-night should be scheduled in advance.  Go watch your favorite movies in the theater, have dinner at your favorite restaurant, or take a walk on the beach –  whatever or wherever you may want to spend your date.  What is important is that you are both together in an environment where you are free from all the stresses of the utility bills, children, student loans or mortgages.
  2. Reminisce of the time about how you fell in love with each other:  This will keep you reminded of the beautiful things that you have seen and are still seeing in your partner, yet you fail to compliment because of the busy day you are having. Also, this will prevent the rise of a half- hearted effort in keeping your relationship alive and healthy.
  3. Take time to romance each other again:  Even if you have a busy schedule, making time for each other will focus on bringing the significance of the relationship back to the partnership.  Surprise your partner with gifts.  Even the simplest or not so expensive gift will do, almost always.  When you do this, you are demonstrating that you never forgot your partner amidst activities you have without him or her.  Leave little love notes inserted in your partner’s work notebook, on the bathroom mirror, or on the car’s dashboard. This is a very simple way ofsurprising your partner that will give him or her a pleasant jolt of love.
  4. Put your partner on first priority again:  This is a biggie! This can be done by simply doing the sweet little nothings that you have done for your partner before, but have rarely done lately or seldom at all.  You have a lot of choices for this. Maybe you can give your partner a back or foot rub after a long day, or perhaps you can do the dishes when you don’t usually help with this chore. This will show your partner how you really care and value him or her. The more you do these unexpected sweet little nothings, the more your partner will have the urge to do likewise.
  5. Have a fresh approach:This is not to change your entire personality, but to have an upgrade of the usual predictable approaches that you have been doing. This new approach will surely add zest to  your eagerness for each other.

Keep in mind that a partnership is very precious and has to be kept robustly blazing at all times. The number of years must never be the reason for your relationship’s downfall or for you to turn boring to each other. You should never wait until your anniversary or on special occasions to do something special and different (in a sweet manner) for your partner. When you do it for no reason at all,except to let your partner know they are appreciated and adored, you will both live joyfully.  In addition, you will also set  good examples of love that your family, friends, and children will follow in time.


How to Put More ‘Thanks’ Into Your Giving

delight yourself in the lord

“I have never cared much for the Thanksgiving holiday, once I grew up and became an adult.  As a young child, it was a blast.  We would load up the car with my three siblings and lots of food, and then sit in the back seat while my father would drive what felt like a very long distance to my Grandmother’s home out in the country. I think it was about 150 miles each way.  Once we arrived, we would immediately eat a huge meal of turkey and all the fixings.  I remember eating so much food that I always had to spend time in the outhouse because my belly was way too full.  After our meal, all my cousins and I would dash outside to the barn to build tunnels in the hay and pick on the younger kids before I would have a major asthma attack or end up being bullied myself.  Yes, those were the good old days…full of family, fun, and good times”

~ Dr. Gayle Joplin Hall.

Growing up means losing some, if not all, of your family traditions because you now have a family of your own.  You are expected to visit your spouse’s family (if you are married), or swap holidays, or do whatever it is that you decide as a couple to do.  With my first marriage, I let my new husband walk all over me and tell me how it was going to be.  I was young, like right out of high school.  I got pregnant with my first child and had him within 15 months.  The men would go out hunting, walk into the paternal Grandparents’ home with stinky, dirty hunting clothes and muddy boots on, sit down, and expect to be waited on. And, they were waited on.  The first time I witnessed this, I told my new husband that I was not going to do that. He asked me “why not?” and I told him I was not his servant, that I was his wife and partner, and then when we were alone, I got in his face about how poorly he had just treated his Grandmother.  He told me she ‘liked’ it.  I told him how wrong he was.  About two years into our marriage, I quit going with him for Thanksgiving or any other holiday to his parents’ or his grandparents’ home.  I could not stand the disrespect.  And so, now you may understand why I dislike Thanksgiving.

What about all of the single people out there? What do they do and where do they go if they do not go back to their parent’s home?  I used to have single people over when it was just my baby son and me after I divorced.  We would ask people who were alone to come and eat with us.  I never fixed turkey, because it is not my favorite thing.  My goal is to never cook a whole turkey.  Perhaps I am the only person who wants to be able to say that, but it is important for me to cook foods that I like, especially on holidays.

I have even heard of couples who have been together for many years, yet one partner goes off to be with his or her family and the other partner does the same with their own respective family.  Where does that stop and when does the couple say, “No more.  We are together and you either like or respect us as a loving couple, or we are out of here.”  Why do people have such a difficult time standing up for what they believe in?

Here in the metropolis I live in, there is no need for volunteers at the homeless shelters to serve up meals on holidays.  This seems to be the time of year that churches and other organizations want to really help out. I am so thankful for their generosity.  When I was a college Professor, I taught my students about service learning and working with the homeless by going to the shelters and feeding 705 people per night at the largest shelter in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  My students interviewed some of the homeless people and found out that they are just like you and just like me.  They were hungry, they needed a bed to sleep in, and they wanted to have their dignity restored.  One woman interviewed, was in her 80’s.  Her home had been destroyed by fire.  She was at the shelter because she did not want her children to know that she had nowhere to go.  All of her children lived out of town and had no clue she was homeless.  Yes, you guessed it.  I bawled my eyes out after that story. It made me sick.

I held my emotions together as I heard story after story and especially, after coming back to the campus several times with all of my classes and listening to their stories.  My students learned life’s lessons that I could have never taught them in a classroom.  They were humbled, they were sad, but most of all, they were thankful to be exposed to what happens in our world, in our own backyard, less than two miles from the beautiful campus I taught at and where they attended school.

Their giving legacy lives on.  I received a letter last week and one today from former students who told me they had been back to the shelters many times and had taken their families to help, also.  When they told me their lives had been changed forever, my comment was, “Mine, too.”

Who can you invite to dinner, who can you help to hold up in esteem, who can you say a prayer for as you partake in your traditional Thanksgiving meal this week?  You may not know a name, but I’ll bet you do not look away the next time you pass a homeless person on the street.  They do not want to harm you.  They just want to be fed.

This article is dedicated to any and every person who has broken bread with someone they do not know, or for those who want to make a difference in our world.  God bless you and peace to all.