In the pause: Developing your gifts is mandatory

“People don’t develop their gifts because they want to, but because they have to.”

That’s how a conversation with Brian started recently. We were talking about the idea of using painful and upsetting experiences to become better people. I told him that I wished it didn’t take a burning platform to evolve and he explained that so often that burning platform is the spark we need to take action and grow. In other words, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” (Hat tip to Winston Churchill.) So if you’re going through something that’s difficult right now, there is an enormous and shiny silver lining: once you’re through it (and I promise you if we just keep going, we do get through all of our difficult times), you will emerge as someone who is braver, stronger, and better than you were before. Your gifts will get you there. It may not be fun, but it will be worth it because once you have your gifts, you have them forever.


In the pause: Be who you are

“The price we pay for being who we are is worth it.” ~Eartha Kitt

What does it take to be who we are? Integrity, courage, and confidence come to mind. There’s a dash of faith tucked in there with a hefty dose of honesty. The price we pay for all of this can be steep. Not everyone will like who we are. Not everyone will appreciate what we have to offer. Not everyone will accept us. But consider this: what’s the price we pay for pretending to be someone we aren’t? We live a life that’s less than what’s meant for us, and we deserve better than that. It’s not always easy to be exactly who we are, but it sure beats being someone else.


In the pause: The power of thinking small

One of the main tenants of business and new product development is to develop the least expensive, least time intensive version of your product to test with exactly the people you hope to become your customers. You want to put in just enough money and effort so that the idea of what you’re trying to do is clear and the experience is positive. And you want to keep from putting in too much money and effort on an idea that just doesn’t work. It’s all about using resources wisely and conserving as much as you can while also still giving the idea a fighting chance to show its value. It’s a tricky balancing act, but it has to be done.

With A Can of Coke, my online platform to provide college- and career-readiness counseling for high school students, I can use an easy, light-weight combination of Google Calendar and Google Hangout with a small handful of students to help them in the evening and weekend hours for a couple of months. This way I can see if the idea works and what needs to be improved without incurring a lot of cost.

Fast, simple, small. It’s how all great ideas start.


In the pause: Today is a special occasion

“Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.” ~Mary Engelbreit

We often think that to do something, we have to wait for the right time. I sometimes catch myself saying things like “when I get a few hours of uninterrupted time, then I’ll write that piece I’ve been thinking about.” The truth is that we have to take every moment we can get to do what we love. Sometimes that means just a small snippet of time, and sometimes it means we get an entire afternoon or day or week. We can’t wait for an ideal time for anything. We have now, and now is enough.


In the pause: Close some doors

“Close some doors. Not because of pride, incapacity, or arrogance, but because they no longer lead somewhere.” ~Paulo Coelho

In order to do what we’re meant to do, we have to choose to stop doing something else. This can be easier than it sounds. Maybe we’re leaving a door open out of perceived obligation or because we feel we have no other options. But too many open doors pulling us in opposite directions can wear us down. They can cloud our vision. They can cause us to grow numb to our passions. Closing doors is a part of chasing dreams.

It can be difficult to articulate our dreams; even harder to follow them, especially if the path to them isn’t clear. There will hardships, setbacks, and troubles. There will be joy, progress, and peace. The incredible highs and lows are all part of the journey. Don’t let the lows get you down. We need them to show us what really matters to us. Don’t let the highs make you over-confident; instead let them be a sign that yes, you are on the path that is meant for you. Keep traveling that path with diligence, persistence, and love. Close the doors that aren’t right for you, and close them with confidence. It’s the only way to live the life you really want.


In the pause: Sign up to get updates about my novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters

I’m so thrilled that my novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published this Fall by Thumbkin Prints, a new children’s and young adult imprint of Possibilities Publishing Company. I’ve recently updated the name of the Facebook Page for the book and I’d love for you to sign up for giveaways, special offers, and updates. Just go to and click the blue “Sign up” button on the right side of the page. I can’t wait to share the progress on the book and Emerson Page’s story with you. Cheers to dreams fulfilled!


In the pause: Go where life is humming and time is flying

Ever been at work and watched the clock wind down? Every. Single. Minute. Ever felt like life is croaking rather than humming? Me, too. And here’s the remedy: get out. Get way out. Of your situation. Of your comfort zone. Of your own way. This past week has been one of the very best that I’ve had in a long time, and here’s why: I am living. Really living. Growing. Exploring. Writing. Getting it done. The really important work of connecting to others and to my own spirit. I am living out loud. Now my time is flying. Now my life is humming. I’m dancing, singing, and glowing inside and out, and will continue to do so.


In the pause: The number one beauty secret

“The secret to beauty is simple: ‘Be who you are.'” ~Bobbi Brown

This week I’ve been laser-focused on projects that light me up. I’m following my passions and curiosity in many directions. People keep saying to me, “Christa, you sound great. You look great. What’s going on with you?” Friends, it’s about happiness and empowerment. It’s about confidently standing in our own light and allowing ourselves to really be seen and heard. Now is always the time to be exactly, completely, authentically, and unapologetically who we are.


In the pause: Lift the weight of caring by doing

“Lift the weight of caring by doing.” ~State Farm Insurance

State Farm Insurance is running an initiative called It depicts a man who is watching his neighbors deal with homelessness, hunger, and disease. He feels burdened by these insights and then stumbles across a neighborhood center that offers mentoring to young people where he can volunteer.

I know many of you are struggling with the massive needs in the world right now. There is no shortage of them—hunger, health, homelessness, inequity, racism, poverty, and the list goes on and on. Don’t feel paralyzed by the enormity of the task. Get out there and do something for a cause you care about. State Farm’s site can help you find a great opportunity to put your caring to work!


In the pause: We’re all hanging on

One of my elderly neighbors: “How you doing, young lady?”
Me: “I’m doing well. How are you?”
Neighbor (laughing): “Hangin’ on, baby. Hangin’ on. You know what I mean?”
Me: “Yes. Yes, I do.”

Lately I’ve felt like we’re all hanging on through the insanity that is this world today. And while that might sound dire, I think it’s actually beautiful in its own way. Over the past few months, I’ve had so many honest and passionate conversations with friends and strangers alike. For better or for worse, the state of our country has opened us up to speak our minds and to hear from others, too. We’re figuring out what really matters. We’re informed. We’re involved. And we’re staying that way. Hang on, friends, to each other and to what matters to you. This will all be worth it.