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Person of the Day

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Linda Ronstadt Shares Her Simple Dreams

Llinda Ronstadt at Changing Hands/Oct. 2013/book event

UPDATE 4/5/14: Linda will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 4/10/14 in New York. Linda Ronstadt Duets is being released April 8.

UDPATE 12/17/13: Linda Ronstadt will enter Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

By Janet Traylor/November 3, 2013

“I covered a big wide range of music in my career, and I wanted to write a book about why I made those choices and why they weren’t arbitrary.”  Linda Ronstadt

I often wonder how an artist becomes an artist. Many times, a life of creative expression emerges from seeds planted in childhood. I have long held an affinity for novelist Willa Cather, whose childhood, like mine, was colored intensely by early experiences of growing up on the Western Prairie.   [Read more…]

PERSON OF THE DAY: Cindy Abbott’s Test of Courage Racing in the Iditarod

Iditarod racer Cindy Abbott and her pup

Cindy and her special lead dog, “Baby Drool”

UPDATE: 3/23/15: Cindy Abbot Makes It To Nome and finished Iditarod…Congrats, Cindy!!!

UPDATE: 3/6/15:  Cindy’s Back Again Competing in the Iditarod!

By Stacey Gualandi/March 20,2013

On March 3rd, 54-year-old Cindy Abbott set out to be the first woman to complete the over 1,000-mile Iditarod after having already reached the summit of Mt. Everest, all while living with vasculitis, a rare incurable disease. I interviewed Cindy recently about her determination to take on this difficult challenge. Checking back with Cindy to find out how she did, I just learned that twenty miles after the start, she fractured her groin but managed to stay in the race for ten days.

“If it weren’t for me losing my ability to function at a level that I was thought was safe, I would have kept going…”  Cindy Abbott

While this wife and mom didn’t make it to the finish, she did finish what she set out to do:  raise awareness about her disorder, and show what you can accomplish when you set your mind to something…   [Read more…]

Madeleine Albright Presents “Prague Winter”– A Personal Story

Madeleine Albright

By Laurie McAndish King/March 8, 2013

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I am reading Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, a fascinating book written by Dr. Madeleine Albright, one of the most accomplished and influential women of our time. When she took office as the 64th U.S. Secretary of State, Albright became the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government.  [Read more…]

Anne Lamott on Writing, Prayer and the Secret to Life

Anne Lamott, author

Anne Lamott

By Laurie McAndish King/December 12, 2012

Twitter: @ANNELAMOTT

“Menopause did not sharpen my clarity and focus as much as I had hoped it would. I’m just like I was at seven—all over the place.” The audience erupts in laughter. Most of us, like author Anne Lamott, are women in the “very late youth” phase of our lives; we know exactly what she means.  [Read more…]

Author Barbara Kingsolver Writes About Global Climate Change and Hope

Barbara Kingsolver, author of "Flight Behavior"

By Laurie McAndish King/November 26, 2012

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides.”  —from Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver understands the importance of hope. And, for the benefit of her readers, Kingsolver does run down hope’s hallways.  She does touch the walls on both sides—and the floors and ceilings and doors and windows, too.    [Read more…]

Amy Meyer Helps Heal Troubled Children at WHY Ranch

Amy Meyer, WHY Ranch/Photo: Adrian Leon

Amy Meyer, founder of WHY Ranch

By Stacey Gualandi/November 6, 2012
Photos by Adrian Leon

Facebook: WHY Ranch

We’ve all heard the infamous saying about Sin City: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”  But there is one woman’s story in Las Vegas that I hope will be shared around the country, maybe even the world.

“My passion is to give kids a chance to overcome today’s challenges by learning how to befriend, take care of and ride a horse.” Amy Meyer

In 2007, Amy Meyer started WHY Ranch, a program devoted to helping underprivileged children who find themselves bullied, abused, and fearing their future. A good friend, Adrian Leon, told me about WHY Ranch and explained how it provides a safe haven for kids to heal by working with horses.

He shared his beautiful photos and video, and I soon learned that in just a couple of years, dozens of children have overcome some of the biggest challenges facing our youth today.I recently met Amy while in Las Vegas to learn about her work, the healing powers of horses, and of course why…  [Read more…]

Brené Brown and the Power of Vulnerability

Brené Brown, author and researcher

Story and Photo By Pamela Burke/October 20, 2012

A recent visit to Book Passage in Marin, CA to hear a talk by Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly-How the Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, was more than satisfying…it was exhilarating.

Brene Brown's book Daring GreatlyWho knew that a talk about vulnerability could be so fascinating.  The standing-room-only crowd loved Brené’s energy and ability to breathe life into a speech about perfectionism, shame, and clearing one’s armor.

Brené is a self-described storyteller whose newest book has been a popular best-seller.   More than that, she’s a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  She has spent 10 years studying the essence of vulnerability.

If you haven’t yet heard about her or read her books, you might want to watch this video of her 2010 TEDx Houston talk on vulnerability from YouTube.  In it she communicates about this sensitive topic with such humor and humanity that it struck a chord with more people than she ever could have imagined.

By the way, it is known as one of the most watched TEDx speeches with over six million viewers.

Her response to this talk is the following 2012 “Listening to Shame” TED Conference lecture at Long Beach.   Here she describes waking up after the Houston speech with the “worst vulnerability hangover of her life.”  She didn’t leave her house for three days and thought her life was over with the exposure she would receive on YouTube.  And yet that experience profoundly changed her.

What she’s learned, she says, is that vulnerability is not weakness as many people think.  Her message is to run into the arena with courage.  What she has also gleaned along the way,  she described amusingly and poignantly at Book Passage.

Here are my Top 10 Takeaways from her talk:

1.  Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen.

2.  There’s no equation where vulnerability equals weakness.

3.  To be alive is to be vulnerable.

4.  Vulnerability is letting it all hang out.

5.  We are hardwired for connection. In its absence is suffering.

6.  Vulnerability isn’t easy. It can be dangerous and scary.

7.  We don’t need a posse.  One or two people can dust us off and say we are brave.

8.  It’s a daily practice to clear our armor.

9.  When perfectionism is driving, shame is riding shot gun.

10. Deliver us from fear and shame.

She leaves her audience with lots to think about.  Another thing to ponder is where she came up with the title of her book.  It turns out she was inspired by the Theodore Roosevelt speech, Citizenship in a Republic, excerpted here:

…because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly . . .”

Be sure to read the  whole speech on her website.  Roosevelt’s words described to her what it meant to be vulnerable.  Her book is certainly a testament to her own ability to dare greatly.

We hope to have Brené on our radio show to ask her more about her most thought-provoking stories and writings and why she loves the rock band Whitesnake.  She tells a fun story about singing their song, Here I Go Again, in her car!

TWITTER FOR BRENE BROWN: @BreneBrown

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Diana Nyad’s Courageous Attempt at her ‘Xtreme’ Dream

Diana Nyad attempting marathon Cuba to Florida swim,2012/Photo Florida Keys News Bureau, Christ Barli

Diana Nyad attempting marathon Cuba to Florida swim/Photo: Florida Keys News Bureau, Christi Barli

By Pamela Burke/August 23, 2012

Hats off to Diana Nyad for her amazingly gutsy attempt to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys!  Can you imagine anyone at any age attempting this dangerous swim through shark-infested waters inhabited by jellyfish with 10-foot-long tentacles?  This 63-year-old marathon swimmer never flinched nor turned back, even after three previous attempts and knowing full well the challenges ahead of her.   [Read more…]