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Ask This One Question Before Embarking on Any Endeavor

Buddha in SnowSeveral years ago I had an enlightening conversation with a young man, who could have been my son. He was telling me about a trip to Spain to run with the bulls.

He said you run in front of a bunch of bulls—and you get gored or trampled, or you don’t. He couldn’t figure out the “upside”—there was no cash reward or even a trophy for getting away from the bulls, so he decided to participate as a passive spectator. After that, he told me, he began asking himself before he jumped into any endeavor, “What’s the upside?”

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Remembering Celestine Sibley

On Thursday night, I had the unexpected pleasure of speaking to a local chapter of P.E.O. International. The meeting was held at the home of Gilda and Lee Morris in Brookwood Hills, a gracious neighborhood that sprawls on the eastern side of Peachtree Street, opposite Piedmont Hospital. The chapter is 148 years old; many of the women I met were second-, third-, or even fourth-generation members of the group.

PEO

P.E.O. members Laura Cline, Katie Henry, Stephanie Davis Neill, Pam Kilmer, Deborah Gimson, me, Kim Ader, Barbara Bradshaw (both seated); standing, Claudia Gimson, Gilda Morris, Kelly Cooper Smith, Linda Cox, Allison Vasquez, Sarah Kerr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Claudia Gimson asked if I’d be interested in speaking one Sunday during coffee time, after church, she explained that memberships in this chapter were largely passed down from mother to daughter—sort of like a “secret society,” she joked.

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Three Things You Should Do Right Now

 

“Savor little joys now, travel now, and love now.”

—Donna Ellen Conrad

DonnaRussell

My friend Donna with her husband Russell.

Donna and I met in the early ’90s at the New Orleans Writers’ Conference. I was working for Peachtree Publishers as assistant to publisher Margaret Quinlin, standing in for her at the last minute. Among my duties—a public talk, my first (memorable because I learned a lot about what not to do).

Also, I conducted a morning session of speed dating for writers and publishers, with 10 minutes allotted for a book idea or advice.

Whereas most of the writers went by in a papery blur, Donna made an impression because she was so very well-prepared—with professionally designed storyboards, and a well-crafted pitch that she delivered in a soft New York accent (smooth on the edges, direct, probing). She had done her homework.

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Betsy’s Wedding

BetsySethWing

Betsy and Seth with the redwoods.

My little sister, Betsy, is getting married next Saturday on the other side of the country. She lives just north of Seattle, where she went to graduate school and met her finance, Seth. And she almost came back to Atlanta for the nuptials but decided go with scenic Grants Pass, Oregon—the gift of adventure.

Most of us, she reasoned, would never think to see that beautiful part of the world if she hadn’t given us a compelling reason to go. She was right—the Internet is burning up with our plans—car rentals, hotels, Facebook pics of first plane rides of small nephews.

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SalonRed Owner Jessica Soler: What Every Female Entrepreneur Should Know

Jessica Soler Recycle Dress

SalonRed owner Jessica Soler models her “recycle” dress she made for the salon’s 15th anniversary.

SalonRed creator and owner Jessica Soler heads a mini empire with 100 employees who are spread out among five Atlanta locations—downtown Decatur, Candler Park, and Brookhaven (Candler Park and Brookhaven also have SalonRed Kids locations). Jessica started building the business 20 years ago because she couldn’t get a break as a 22-year-old with a felony record.

In fact, it was her record that launched Jessica, when she found herself standing before a judge who told her if she didn’t straighten out her life, she was going to end up in an orange jumpsuit permanently. The next day she enrolled in hair school.

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