No One Knows

“No one can know.”

That seems to be her cry, almost as much as her need to make the hurt,” GO Away!”

She’s afraid, alone and ashamed… and in the church.

For years she’s tried to do the ‘right’ thing, to be the Christian wife she’s ‘supposed’ to be. But it’s not making a difference in her marriage.

She reads passages like Eph 4:1-3 about ‘making allowances because you love one another’ and feels like…

—I have to put my husband first, regardless

—Whatever he wants of me has to be okay

—If I truly love him I have to let him be himself, even if…

It’s just all twisted up in her mind and heart, and if she admits it, in her body, too.

“HER body”. How long has it been since she felt like her body was her own? Seriously! It’s only for him, right?!

Everything about her physical, sexual, intimate life has been so distorted she just can’t see the Truth anymore. But she also can’t keep living this way.

Her husband’s expectations sexually have robbed her of her dignity.

They don’t have a lovingly mutual expression of bonding in their intimacy. What they do have is warped and cheap and degrading. And yet… they’re both Christians.

She simply CANNOT tell another soul.  

No one in the church… No one in her family… No one in her circle of friends…

How she feels about herself, how she feels about who she is in her sexual relationship with her husband… how can she possibly put it into words? Say it out loud? Admit to what has been happening?

That’s why her need for PRIVACY is of the utmost importance.

Words like security, safety, and CONFIDENTIALITY are imperative for her to seek some help.

And nothing in her correspondence can reflect the topic she needs to talk about. The process must be so secretive that it becomes an actual sanctuary for her; a sacred space to meet the heavenly Father’s loving presence and begin her healing. She can finally tell her story. She can start to breathe again.   

This is what happens for my clients.

Their concerns over their sexual intimacy (in their marriage) have plagued them for years. They’ve been super guarded with their issues because… where do you go so you’re NOT judged, but you also get help?

They come to me in a very private on-line space, in an All Day Session at a beachside location, or locally at my boutique office. Not only is the space safe, my attention for God’s healing of your heart is the safest place you can be.

And… I know your story, because… I lived it, too.

There is a future for you. It starts with HOPE. Let’s chat and see how working together can bring you answers and the freedom-to-be-you! Set up your call today. This is your time.

Your very confidential help begins NOW!   

3 Reasons You Feel Empty in Your Relationships

What Brings Emptiness to Your Relationships?

Your life is at such a FAST pace and so full of BUSYNESS you don’t have time to CHECK-IN with you, much less your significant other.

You have created WALLS around issues that you couldn’t resolve and now it’s easier living with DISTANCE instead of working for connection.

Your dreams for oneness and BELONGING were dashed so long ago that you gave up HOPE and now you’re just going through the motions.

***Though this is a SAD and SCARY, let’s not STOP.***

It’s really because some fears in your life haven’t been recognized, released or replaced… yet. But it can be done.

Want to take step #1?

—Find a quiet place.

—Tell yourself it’s okay to ‘feel’ for just a few minutes.

—Relax and let some of the craziness, hurt or confusion surface.

–Capture those thoughts in a journal or your own specific way.

—Breathe in. Again. Even deeper. And let some of mess just flow out of you.

***There’s more we can do, but that’s a START.***

Your heart, your dreams and your life is truly WORTH the time and effort it takes to feel love. LOVE on you a bit today.

5 Reasons Communication Blows Up in Your Face

Selfies, it seems, are the universal language, regardless of age or location.

This became very real to me on my latest mission trip to Jamaica. Here I am with Ojay. He really wanted to take charge of my cell phone. I met him last year and have been corresponding with his mother all year long, sending gift packages several times.

But even so, there are barriers to our communication, mostly because of culture. But what about communication issues even in a shared culture? This made me ponder…

What causes communication to blow up?

  1. Wrong timing
  2. Selfish motivation
  3. Unclear expectations
  4. Overlooked feelings
  5. Unresolved offense

Let’s think about this.

—Can you wait to speak your mind until a mutually desirable time?

—Do you want the best for all involved or just for yourself?

—What’s your goal for making your point?

—Are you calm enough to have this talk?

—Is a previous issue interfering with your current concern?

The old adage of Think before SPEAK is simple yet powerful.

What barrier arises most in your communication blow-ups?

Why Don’t We Know What We Want, What We Really, Really Want? (Part 2)

girl kicking water at sunset

Yes, your body tells you if you’re hungry, cold or sleepy. It might register fear, anger or even happiness, but that all happens by default, by our divine design. To open the door to understanding more requires intentionality. That is where we hit a bump in the road. 

We don’t know what we really, really want because…

  • We’re too busy to pause and recognize our feelings.
  • We subconsciously think we don’t ‘deserve’ to have our wants and needs met.
  • We don’t know how to identify what’s going on at our core level.

I wish I knew the perfect way to motivate people to take this step. In Part I, we talked about the benefits of being assertive. Those rewards are waiting for us like a dangling carrot. Unfortunately, as human beings, we are usually motivated more by pain than pleasure. So, let’s look at the hurt you are causing by not taking this step, by NOT being assertive.

What does a lack of assertiveness bring to your life?

  • For every relationship that feels stagnant, uncomfortable or volatile, there is something you have NOT recognized. If you want that pain to stop, you have to face that it is happening.
  • For every business opportunity that still lingers beyond your reach, there is a missing mindset or skill set you need to acquire. Acknowledging this truth (without shame) will transform your course in life.
  • For every unfilled (or lost) desire you have to make a difference in the world, there is a hindrance to knowing your purpose and how you can contribute and serve. Owning this truth, though painful during the process, will open doors to finally sharing your gifts with the world and being FREE to be yourself.

When you decide that knowing what you really, really want will better your own life, plus the lives of those you care about most, you will take ACTION!

To learn the real-life steps to make it happen, look for Part III.  

You will also have an opportunity to receive a complimentary copy of “Awaken Your True Self-Worth”. This 3 Day DIY Mini-Course walks you through the process of creating a safe place to hear your heart.

Contact me at for more details.

I Matter, So You Matter

maria's 10.jpg

It seems simple enough, right? A short phrase, repetitive words, and some catchy depth. But we all know this is no easy message. There is layer upon layer involved. Powerful secrets and truths are just under the surface. How can we begin to decipher it?

Do you own a mirror? (Or does it own you…hmmm?) The image that greets you has multiple effects. We may assess our make-up status, potential strawberry seed hide-and-seek, or under eye circles, signs of a late night. This serves us well for how we function in the world. But, what about how we function in our own thoughts and our internal evaluation? Do you matter? Do you have to look a certain way to have value and dignity? Is your worth determined by a cultural norm, a societal dictation, or a worldly estimation? If so, then I hope to change your mind. If not, then, read on. Let’s see how we match with the rest of my points.

You matter, because you were created. Your life has meaning because there is a far more comprehensive view in the big scheme of things. You matter, because you are loved. Period. Your very hairs were colored, numbered, and straightened or curled before you were even born. Your propensity for sunsets, roller coasters and crazy all day games of Monopoly were a part of your design before your fingers were ever formed. Your beautiful analytical mind, fear of birds, and simple pleasure in the smell of new shoes were woven in your very nature. You were masterfully made.

Although it takes a significant amount of grace to embrace this idea, it is feasible. Maybe the journey from where you currently reside (“low me ville”) to where you hope to go (“happier haven”) seems too expansive. Like, “yeah, I run myself down all the time. The voices in my head tear me up. I feel so stupid. Why can’t I ever get it together?” But, again I say, there is grace available to believe in yourself, to accept yourself, and ultimately, to love yourself. This grace comes from an ever flowing, never ending supply. Whenever you need to tap into it, drink deeply from it, or restore your soul by it, it’s there.

You were made in God’s image. He has plans for your good. His desires are only for your freedom and wholeness. He knows you and loves you still… always and forever. It’s from this powerful place that your unique self was fashioned. The very force that continues to propel the universe, make newborns cry, and sunlight sparkle on the water more dazzlingly than diamonds, is the love that gives you worth. You matter because you were created.

That same value was extended to others as well. They, too, are precious, full of promise, and in their inner self, a gem so priceless, they may stay undiscovered for a while. Their treasures need to be sought out, appreciated and celebrated. They have worth that stands ready to be honored.

So you see, that as you grow in knowing how amazing you are, you will take better care of yourself. You will be easier on yourself. You will give yourself extra support and kindness. Then, as you begin to live in that place of ease, seeing others with eyes of grace will become more natural. It will be a part of your renewed nature to respect yourself and choose that for those around you. This is when competition stops, when power struggles cease, and proving yourself lacks urgency. You will know that you know, “I matter…. so you matter”, and life will become a whole lot better because of it.

The Sweet Scent of Peace

As I sit here all cozy on my couch, little Schnauzer curled up by my side and lap top poised for receiving great insights, I deeply drink in great waves of serenity. My soul had been in need of… peace, calm and quiet. My heart was crying out for TLC; the kind that only I could give. Though my busy pace of family events (visits, weddings and holiday plans) was truly fun and satisfying, I still needed to refuel. My tank of tranquility was low and only one thing could genuinely fill it up. Regardless of what you call it (meditation, reflection, or communion with God,) I was craving a place of stillness to settle my inner weariness. My self-affirmation quota was deficient and I know enough (now) to recognize this scenario requires attention ASAP.

So, what are the key components for creating your own place of refuge and a haven for your heart? I think I stumbled onto my formula by repeated, but not always successful attempts. I knew I felt “better” by the separate experiences of reading, praying and journaling, but it was in putting it all together that I unequivocally felt more like myself. When I sensed a release of the icky feelings, and then felt both refocused and a surge of energy, I knew I’d found the winning combination.  Each aspect is important to me: the quiet, the coziness, and the way I yield my cares and re-establish my thoughts. I call this “intrapersonal realignment”. It is one of the most important foundations of my research, writing, and private coaching.

Think with me for a moment about a beautiful flower. You might enjoy seeing it out your window while on a drive, smelling it as you pass by a florist stand, or appreciating its beauty in artwork. In any case it represents a freeze-frame moment in time, a snapshot of effortless ease. It captivates our interest and stimulates awe and appreciation. This is a message that soothes, revives and inspires. Peace is much the same. It can saturate our striving nature with contentment and hope. It ensures that tomorrows can be faced, embraced, and even raced.

Your journey to refueling is personal and uniquely yours. You might already be aware of how to take time for your soul, to listen to your own thoughts, feelings and dreams. Maybe it’s through a meandering nature walk, an exhilarating run, or through a high-energy, people-packed event. However you do it, just do it, for you… and for those you care about. It will make your world better.

Consider some of the following phrases of self-affirmation as delicate whiffs of a delightful flower, full of promise, hope, and sweet reminders of who you were divinely designed to be.

There is greatness for my life, already encoded in my DNA, ready for me to discover.

I choose to see myself with eyes of love.

My heart is a creation of beauty, precious and to be valued.

My dreams are the pathways to my tomorrows.

Valuing myself is a gift to myself.

My heart is a safe place to love my own voice.

I can find new ways every day to celebrate my life.

My thoughts and feelings are worthy to be heard.

I am brilliant, beautiful and bold.

There is freedom and fulfillment in my future.

My divine design is full of hope.

My best self will arise and turn tragedy into triumph.

I am loveable today, for who I am right now.

I am free to be myself. The world is in need of my brilliance.

Disappearing Act

Photo Rafael Fabricio

Photo Rafael Fabricio

It happened when you weren’t aware.  The craziness of life snuck up on you, and “poof!”, you disappeared. Some incident or major interruption robbed you of your heart and soul, and now… life as you knew it is… gone! You feel like you’re vacant from your own world. The thoughts of your daily existence hound you.   You’re overwhelmed and don’t know how to change it. You want out. You want normal. You want the madness to stop. But you don’t know how to get to that place.

“How can I get my life back?”, you plea. “I want to be me. I want to hope.  I want to really live again… with meaning and dignity. Is. That. Possible?”

Yes, dear friend, that is possible!! Actually, it is truer today than ever before in your life AND it is closer than you could have imagined!! The very fact that you are searching is a sign that you know something else exists for you. Really.  It’s a sign that there is a core of strength in your inner self ready to lift you up and out. Even though there may be baggage, doubts and fear, a part of you is absolutely committed to seeing yourself on your journey to wholeness and fullness. Being ‘on your merry way’ is truly a part of your tomorrow.

  • Tired of feeling alone, afraid, and unable to see your path? As a seasoned coach, mentor, and voice of confidence, I can provide you the compassion, wisdom, and sound guidance you need, to face your situation, and emerge with clarity and strength.
  • Discouraged by struggling with confusion, shame or a sense of failure? With sensitive yet consistent feedback, I can support you to discover choices, develop skills, and explore resources so you gain direction, a healthy self-image and release from lies that compromise your identity.
  • Frustrated from loss of purpose, hope, and motivation to go forward? By assessing your core values and personality strengths, I can equip you with tools to dust off your dreams, believe in yourself, and create a lifestyle of freedom and fulfillment, so you can shine in your divine design.

This speed bump in your life does not need to derail you long term. It doesn’t have to rob you of peace or passion for life. You can use this season to re-harness your unique gifts and re-focus your life’s goals. This is your hour. This is your moment. For such a time as this you were called to walk out of the darkness and into the light. The future is yours. The treasure is within you. Let’s go hunting together.

I love hosting private VIP Intensives to jump-start the transformational work I do with my clients, because it’s months’ worth of coaching in a single condensed day.  I focus 100% attention on helping you discover your divine design of unique strengths and core values, plus map out your immediate next steps to double the impact and influence of your personal growth and leadership skills.  

2015 is fast approaching and it’s destined to be a year of inspiration revealed, addition, and rest. So, now is the perfect time for this deep-level work to prepare you for what’s ahead. Align your personal growth with your leadership success, and with the support of a masterful coach and proven mentor to lead you there.

Lost in a Fog?

She stumbled onto the beach in a haphazard way. The cool moist sand squished between her toes, but the sensation didn’t have its typical playful feel. The sun was getting low and the breeze was whipping at her big, floppy shirt. She was not there to gaze at the mesmerizing sea in reflection, nor to revel in the beauty of the patterns in the surf. These satisfying pastimes, her usual choice, were nowhere in her thoughts. Tonight was about the screaming fog inside her head.

Everything was in a whirl; pain, sadness, anger, shock, disappointment, fear, confusion, and then, more hurt. Just when she sensed that one thought might be coming together in a cohesive shape, it swirled away, draining her focus. As she meandered closer to the breaking waves, her footsteps became heavier, though not any more sure of a direction. She wanted to pound the hurt away, to release this brooding monster from within, to make it all disappear so she could return to living. It didn’t happen, not that night.

This woman (myself) was caught in a cycle, a very damaging one.

 It left her feeling powerless.

In her relationship there was a huge disconnect. On this evening her internal storm muddled the pain and misunderstanding into a debilitating confusion.  With hands on hips she stomped away at the wet mounds left behind by sand crabs. Pacing and circling, her behavior may have been amusing to an onlooker, but it was tortuously serious to her present situation.  Nothing made sense. How could she explain herself? How could she be heard? She felt invisible. And still, the stabbing pain of rejection and isolation (though she couldn’t identify at the time) prohibited her from deeper introspection. The habit, as always, was to pray and cry until it subsided ‘enough’ and then just pick up where she had left off. So, after perching on a damp bench until the first stars began to emerge, she felt the tsunami inside subside. It was time to collect herself, retrace her path, and emerge on the home front as a settled beast. The storm had been harnessed and compartmentalized, not defeated, not truly addressed, but squelched enough to be human again. But, sigh…

Was this really living?  

If I could go back to that woman, all those years ago, there are a few things I’d do and share.  Although I’d love to put my arm around her and tell her, “it’s going to be okay” I know at that point she would not have believed me. And, it seems so natural to call her and set up a coffee date, but even that would not have been affective. She didn’t think anyone cared. And, on an even scarier note, she wasn’t truly caring for herself, so receiving love and understanding from someone else was almost impossible.

To silence the screaming and disperse the fog we’d need to create a very safe space. In this place acceptance was guaranteed. Honor was a lifestyle. Hope was a friend. Dreams were real, with do-able steps. Freedom and fulfillment were the norm. And, we’d do this by embracing courage as the garment of choice. In that peaceful yet vibrant setting, I would ask her an important question. This question would be a game changer. It would challenge her. It would comfort her. It would change her. This question would identify her values. It would speak of her gifts and destiny. It would be a sign of her contribution to the world.  And, although she may not have known the answer immediately, I’d promise her that together, we could find it.

The question: What. Do. You. Need?

It’s true, that seems primal and faintly ridiculous. Any adult is fully cognizant of their needs, right? And, as adults we’re completely able to express them in a way that is clear, aren’t we? Don’t we fully respond to each other’s needs, so that comfort is restored and a closer connection is achieved… ummm, not so much. Therefore, let’s go back to the starting block.

“Hey there, you half-crazed woman, stomping in circles on the beach. Imagine you can truly listen to your heart. Let the whole world stop for a moment. Yeah, just slow it down. You are safe. You can think and feel with no pressure to be a certain way. Now, take a deep breath. Close your eyes and relax. You are accepted. You are loved. You are precious. You are brilliant, bold and beautiful. Look inside, to that deep, inner place. What’s going on in there? Nope, no… there’s no fear. It’s okay. Look again, you got this. With all the care and attentiveness that you’d shower on a precious newborn babe, gaze with love upon yourself.  Dear, dear dazzling jewel, oh so valuable, please see your heart. With tenderness and affection listen in closely. What do you need?”

I’m guessing a whole torrent of words would have come rushing out. Some would have been feelings. Some would have been descriptions, recounting experiences. But slowly and lovingly we would have discovered those overlooked needs. This is where it starts. This is how healing begins. This is what makes communication grow and relationships thrive. Your thoughts, feelings and needs matter. Let’s do this together.

The true you wants to live out loud. The true you wants to be heard.

This one tool will keep you in touch with yourself and help you to navigate safely in relationships. By listening to your heart and identifying your needs you will never again be trapped in a screaming fog.

Can you identify with this feeling? Have you also experienced such deep emotion and the need to be heard? What’s your story? Please share.

Accept * Believe * Celebrate

I meet amazing women every day. They are caring, funny, intelligent, articulate, passionate dreamers, community enthusiasts, deep thinkers and integrity-minded individuals. Their lives are full of meaning.

But, they have a missing piece. 

There’s an empty spot, way down inside. They don’t know and cherish their value. They have so much love inside and they long for close connections with other people, but something holds them back. They struggle to open up and trust.

It’s a painful scenario. Isolation, frustration and self-condemnation fill their thoughts and perpetuate the situation. All they really want is to be free – to be themselves, to have significant personal relationships, and to finally share their precious thoughts, feelings and even needs, they’ve kept guarded and hidden all of this time.

When I meet with them, however; I see their true self.

They are women of strength, possibility and hope. Their futures are full of authenticity, confidence and power. It all starts with a profound yet, at-your-fingertips principle.

Do you know who you really are?

Through Life Coaching we consider your core values and create a personalized program of self-care and self-championship. We design a mindset of freedom and love, with all the steps needed for acceptance to become a reality.

I unlock destinies for women to know their worth and find their power, so they can freely share their purpose with the world.

Are you that woman?

Is it time for your inner power to be activated so acceptance can lead you to the fulfilling life you’ve always wanted? Then, what are you waiting for? I have openings for three motivated women this month. We’ll start with a Discovery Session to determine your top 3 core values. From there the old hurt, confusion and dissatisfaction will drop away and the true you will fully emerge. It’s time. Your dreams are ready for their star.

Become the best you – the True You!

Coaching sessions are available via one-on-one in my boutique style private office, easily accessible Skype format, or soothing, beach retreat settings. Schedule your phone complimentary Discovery Session now.

Are you ready to finally be you?

Sisterhood: By Choice

“Ba-bing… Ba-bing…” my text alert sounded as I was walking my mighty Schnauzer pup, Niki. Sliding my cell phone out of my pocket and glancing at the screen, I instantly felt connected. It was my bestie, of over 30 years. Through three states, five kids, and multitudes of cozy- balcony, girl chats, we’ve been through a lot together. Not only is she sharp, witty, fun, focused and beautiful inside and out… I trust her, completely. There is no judgment; rather support and commitment. Well, better yet, there is the powerful double AA effect: Acceptance and Accountability. I don’t know where I’d be without her. I thank God for Laurie, daily.

“Hey girl, how are you?” I check in, by way of response. Typically she asks for feedback, prayer or we exchange ideas. Her heart is for helping women also. It’s an amazing and formidable combination to collaborate with someone who is both like-minded in values and in life’s pursuit. We know our purpose. We are reaching for our destiny. The grasp of our dreams is a regular occurrence. Wow! It’s fulfilling and freeing at the same time. But it wasn’t always this way.

Years ago I was a bonafide member of the helpless and hopeless club. Circumstances of life were very tough, and swimming in a sea of confusion was my normal mode of operation. It’s like things kept going round and round and I was stuck. Relationships were murky waters. “They said, What?! How do I respond to that?” I felt left out, overlooked, unappreciated, and completely unable to change it. “Make it stop!! Won’t somebody please, make it stop!” often rose up in my cries, under my breath, when I felt absolutely alone.

Finally, one day, a larger-than-life crisis hit.

That thing that had been brewing for decades, that I had denied, walked around like the elephant in the room; it erupted. Ba-Boom! Right in front of me, life as I knew it, was totally eradicated. A tsunami erased my existence. Family, friends, work, home, church and my lifestyle was altered forever. To say it was devastating is really important to mention, because it brought me to ground zero, or even lower than that. The blast cleared out everything familiar. I was left with a raw surface, rough and scattered with debris. It was suddenly up to me to decide what life was gonna look like, now.

So, what did I do? I called my bestie.

She listened, guided, prompted, loved and walked with me. It deepened our friendship, expanded our future, and created the potential for me to see a new life. I truly needed her objective perspective, her timing with what issues to address, and her ease and grace with letting me grow. Those first steps were awkward and unsure. There was a lot of second-guessing; trying to trust my gut again.

I had to learn to hear my heart; my thoughts, feelings, needs and dreams.

I was in the chrysalis stage for an indeterminate amount of time, no longer limited as an earth-bound caterpillar, but not quite ready to spread my butterfly wings. All the while my colors were developing, my strength increasing, and my life focus sharpening. I found the right environment in which to mature, nutrients necessary to thrive, and flight path that would satisfy and eventually contribute to others.

My life truly became my own masterpiece to create.

My friend, my sister by choice, provided for me a safe place so I could rebuild my identity and redefine my focus. Through my season of transition I needed an outside, experienced voice who could meet with me, right where I was, but at the same time call out the best in me and help me find my direction.

This collaboration modeled for me the path to transformation. It is exactly what I do for women today, through Life Coaching. My personal journey got me in touch with the work I am passionate about; the practice of helping women see themselves with eyes of love. I went back to school to get my masters’ degree. I learned how to support social and emotional development. I participated in clinical studies. I researched techniques for self-awareness. I wrote and published professional papers. I presented at local, state and national conferences on Bibliotherapy and other ways of promoting personal and relational growth. I trained with a licensed psychologist and was certified as a professional Life Coach.

My mission is to help women know their worth and find their power, so they can create lifestyles of freedom and purpose.

Do you know a woman in need of my services? Can you think of a friend in transition who would benefit from a seasoned voice of support, wisdom and action? Has any female in your circle had a major life interruption due to divorce, career shift, death, abuse, empty nest, health loss or financial crisis? If she is ready for a life of MORE peace, MORE fulfillment, MORE confidence, and MORE freedom to finally be herself, then I am ready to walk with her. Together we can create a plan of action for her to love herself.

I meet with clients for one-on-one transformation, in person or via Skype.

Distance is no longer an obstacle. Communicating from the convenience of your own space can be very personal and powerful. I also hold all day intensives, and over night retreats. In addition, I host virtual and local groups, and speak at events. And, for the out-of-the-box experience I collaborate with creative expressions workshops and other experiential learning formats. Please, for those you care about, let me know how I can help. You can reach me at:     904.718.8943                                        4312 Pablo Professional Court   Jacksonville, FL 32224

Today is a good day to be you; the True You!