hard vs. easy

Hard Vs. Easy

When someone we love is facing a hard vs. easy fork in the road, we might think enabling them to take the easy road is more loving, but the hard road could be the most loving of all.

The summer before my sophomore year of college my parents were struggling and couldn’t help me. My parents and I discussed it, and I decided to ask my grandfather for some money. It took a lot for me to go ask him. I knew he had it, but I felt weird asking him for it.

His answer was no. I don’t remember much explanation other than he felt it would be better for me if I took care of it myself. I was upset, hurt and embarrassed. But that passed.

Hard Work Pays Off

I went back to college and got an on-call job in the university food services. I cleaned tables, scooped icecream, fried eggs, washed dishes… wherever they needed me, that’s what I did. Then one day a man from the main food services office came to me while I was wiping down a dirty table.

He said, “I’m looking at your employment records and see you are in a computer major. I need someone who is good with computers in the office. Would you like to come work there?”

I heartily agreed and in a short period of time, he gave me the task of creating a cost analysis database for all the food they made and sold in the university. This was 1986-88 when computers were still in their infancy. Database design for PC’s was cutting edge.

I was able to create practical applications in real-world business while taking my Information Management classes. My boss let me set my own hours and work as much as the university allowed (20 hrs/week during Fall/Winter and 40 hrs/week in the summer).

That knowledge came in handy a decade later when I created IdeaMarketers.com (the first article directory on the web). A friend taught me Cold Fusion and gave me some starter code and I was able to program that database driven web site.

As I look back now at my grandfather’s decision not to loan me that money, I am grateful. I got out of college with only a $1250 student loan (which I used to purchase a Tandy computer) and worked my way through college doing something I loved. That experience set the stage for creating a web site that fed my family for many years and enabled me to meet some of the most influential, talented and brilliant minds.

I wonder how different my life would have been if my grandfather had said yes.

How often do we have something difficult happen in our lives, and we’re confused, angry or hurt? Then, when we look back later, we realize that had we not gone through what we did, we wouldn’t have grown in important ways. Had grandparents, parents, life, God or even our enemies not allowed us to go through difficult things, we wouldn’t have had the great experience that we had.

Challenge is an equally as important part of love as support.

own your own power... say no

Is Your Inability to Say No Making You Sick, Tired or Broke?

One of the hardest things for many women to do is to say no. As wives, mothers and friends, we live much of our lives as caregivers. As a result, we begin to think other people’s wishes must take precedence over our own.

We’ve often heard that we need to say “No” more. If we don’t, we’ll end up sick, tired, or broke because we aren’t taking care of ourselves. But it goes beyond the usual self-care advice. I’d like to explore how being sick, tired or broke is actually serving you on some level and what you can do about it.

As Long As You Have a Good Excuse

Many people take on projects and tasks that are out of alignment with who they are and what they are here to do because they don’t know how to say, “No.” Many of us take on too much and wear ourselves out, sacrificing our health and peace of mind on the altar of having to say “Yes” to more than we can adequately manage.

When that becomes more than we can bear, we shift to excuses-making. After all, you need a good excuse to say, “No” – right? Most of us feel we do. If we don’t have a “good enough excuse,” there’s guilt.  Guilt can be so uncomfortable our minds search for a way out.

Growing up, if I or one of my siblings made an excuse for why we couldn’t do something, my dad would say, “Well, as long as you have a good excuse.”

He wanted us to understand that we were making excuses. We were searching for a way out. He wanted us to be aware we were only fooling ourselves with our excuses. Did we really need the excuse?

Often, people who have a hard time saying “No” end up in these types of situations:

Leading incredibly busy lives which become unbalanced. Busy-ness becomes the excuse that justifies why we can’t do one more thing.

For many years, I was a workaholic. I used my busy-ness as a badge of honor. I derived my value from my busy-ness. It also gave me an excuse to get out of doing things I didn’t want to do. I was too chicken to say, “No,” so I just stayed busy with things I’d rather be doing.

Becoming sick. Bodies often become sick in order to give us a guilt-free excuse to say, “No.” I’ve worked with several clients who discovered that their illnesses were actually serving them. Being sick gave them an excuse to decline other people’s demands or to get out of doing things they were scared to do. These were real, legitimate illnesses, certainly not in their minds, but their bodies were trying to speak to them and get their attention through dis-ease.

This is especially common when there are other people in one’s life who will not take “No” for an answer. People who are prone to manipulating, guilt-tripping, and nagging often make others feel trapped. The person who is being manipulated actually becomes sick because there seems to be no other viable “excuse” that the manipulator will accept.

Of course, there are a myriad of reasons for illnesses. This is just one to consider.

Having money problems. If you have money problems, you can use, “I have to work” or “I don’t have the money for that” as excuses not to do what you are too afraid, lazy or scared to do.

For example, it might be that you don’t know how to say “No” to your children, and you’re afraid of spoiling them if you buy them too much. Your subconscious mind might work around those tough conversations and boundary-setting by making sure you have little spending money.

Who Owns Your Power?

Bottom line, the root issue is that we are abdicating our personal power to other people. When we get tired of abdicating our power to other people, we shift to advocating it to the excuse.  The excuse takes over our lives. We become overwhelmed, sick or money-strapped.

The solution is simple… we take back responsibility for our own choices. We understand that we are the creators of our own lives. Each person has the freedom to choose how he or she will spend time, money, resources and energy. We have a God-given right to do that, and we owe no one an excuse.

Our wishes, feelings, and needs are every bit as important as anyone else’s. If you do not take care of yourself, certainly no one else will.

The Price You Pay for Excuses

When you give over your power to the excuse, you can’t do what you are on this planet to do. Your energy, health, time and money is sucked down the black hole of the excuse. There’s nothing left for your divine purpose.  On top of that, you’re miserable.

Have an Honest Conversation with Yourself

If you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios, I recommend the following activity.

Obviously, these challenges are very real for you. You probably didn’t even know why they were happening until now. It’s not like you consciously set out to make yourself sick or miserable. But there is some self-preserving part of you that is trying to protect you. It’s time to have a conversation with that part of yourself. Here are the steps for doing that.

First, admit that you are using health challenges, busyness, or money issues as an excuse to get out of what you don’t want to do. Really absorb and see that you are doing this. What are you trying to get out of?  Why are you trying to get out of it? Are you afraid? Are you scared to have tough conversations with others? Do you have inaccurate beliefs about what is possible for you?

Second, thank the part of yourself that has been trying to rescue you. Thank it for the health, money or busyness issues.  There is a part of you that is trying to help you say, “No.” Thank this part of yourself that understands you haven’t been setting clear boundaries with yourself and others. Ask it to forgive you for not taking better care of yourself and not standing in your power.

Tell it that you forgive it for making you tired, sick and/or broke and that you understand now that it was trying to protect you. Thank it for getting your attention and bringing you to the point where you have the courage to own your own power.

Third, commit to growing a spine and saying “No” without guilt, without excuse. If you don’t want to do something, you have every right to say “No”… And you don’t owe a soul an explanation why.

Fourth, make a commitment to honor yourself and set clear boundaries about what you will and won’t do.

Fifth, strike a deal with yourself. Continue the conversation with your self-preserving side. Work out a win-win solution.

You might say something like this,

“Thank you for giving me health challenges so that I would have a guilt-free excuse to say ‘No’ to things I didn’t want to do or that felt unsafe. I appreciate you trying to protect me. Please forgive me for not setting and honoring clear boundaries with myself and others.

I now see that I don’t need to be sick anymore just to have an excuse. I have a right to say ‘No.’ From now on, I’m going to stand up for myself. Thank you for the health issues. Obviously, I don’t need them anymore because I hereby commit to set clear boundaries and honor and value myself by sticking to them. Thank you. Let’s please work together toward a healthier, better way of living.”

Sixth, clean out any victim energy, past trauma, unhealthy habits, or unproductive guilt using energy techniques. Personally, I use the SimplyHealed Method™ to quickly and painlessly get down to root issues and release them. I’ve used these techniques since 2011, with both myself and my clients. It’s powerful in bringing you peace, hope and the courage to take control of your own life. (Learn more here.)

Remember: Change is good! And it’s okay to ask for help. As you do these steps and as you take care of yourself, you’ll begin to create a more abundant life. You’ll begin to realize your full potential.

Featured Image Copyright: Tuzenko / BigStockPhoto.com


Perfection Vs. Good Enough

When I was young, my brother (who was quite the perfectionist) referred to me as “good enough, Marnie” because I would do the best I could and then say, “Well, that’s good enough.” He called me, “Good enough Marnie” with just enough derision to let me know he felt I had fallen short of perfection in his mind.

I told one of my friends this story years ago and forgot I’d even mentioned it to her. A couple nights ago, she sent me a video of her cute little grandson (perhaps 4-5 years old) playing with his racetrack.

He moved some cars along the track and then said, “Good enough, Marnie.” His grandfather asked him to repeat it for clarification.

My friend explained, “Your legacy lives on in our family.” I had no idea and wasn’t too thrilled that my legacy would mean doing a slop job (the meaning my brother attached to that phrase).

What I didn’t know is that this phrase became “the phrase” her family uses when they feel they’ve done as much as they know to do and just can’t do anymore. She explained, “It’s like a respite from guilt and pressure!”

Isn’t it interesting how 3 words can mean something derogatory to one person and something hopeful to another. It’s all in our perspectives.

After she explained how her family uses the phrase, I felt quite honored. I honestly believe there comes a point where we’ve done all we know to do and we have to just relax, let go of the outcome, and trust that things will work out.

Beating ourselves up over that last ounce of perfection simply isn’t worth it. It makes us feel bad, keeps us from moving forward, and keeps us from accomplishing other more important things in life.

How to Get More Done in a Day Than Most Accomplish in a WeekIn fact, I would say letting go of perfectionism is one of my best pieces of advice for getting more done in less time.

For more of my secrets on how to get more done in a day than most accomplish in a week, click here.

Featured Image Copyright: Kasia Bialasiewicz / BigStockPhoto.com

aura photography

Body Talk: What Your Body Is Telling You About Your Life

Have you ever wondered why you have certain aches and pains, chronic illness, or other sicknesses? Perhaps you’ve heard people say that ailments are body talk. Our bodies talk to us in the only way they know how about our suppressed emotions, grudges, past disappointments, unhealthy beliefs or unresolved trauma.

While I am not convinced that every sniffle has a message to convey, I do believe there is more correlation between what’s going on in our hearts and minds and what’s happening in our bodies than modern traditional medicine considers.

How does this correlation work? First, we need to understand that everything in the universe is made up of energy. A good flow of energy is optimal. If the energy is knotted, fractured, or blocked by something, then problems arise.

Many believe that everything that happens in our lives happens first on a spiritual or energetic level and then eventually moves into physical form. The Law of Perpetual Transmutation states that everything is either growing or dying. It’s evolving into physical form or it’s dissipating and dissolving out of physical form and back into spiritual form. A good example of this are the states of H20: steam, water, and ice.

Energy Systems

Just as the body has different systems like the digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems, our energy systems include systems like meridians, chakras, grids, and the aura.

Just as a blockage, knot or growth in our physical bodies can be problematic, so can obstructions or abnormalities in our energy systems.

Our energy systems can be affected by our lower frequency emotions (like grief, loss, negativity, depression, despondency, doubt, fear). Our energy systems can also be affected by our past experiences, trauma, other people’s interference, detrimental beliefs, and generational patterns. When the energy systems stay in a persistent state, it’s like a seed planted that eventually grows into physical form.

If negative emotions are planted, fed and nourished, a problem will almost always eventually show up in the physical body.

body talkI’ll give you an example. In the summer of 2017, I had some photographs made of my aura (the energy system radiating from my body). In these photos, if you look closely at the left side of my mouth (which is the right side in the photo to the right), you can see a darker area that dips down at the corner of my mouth.

When the specialist taking the photograph saw this, he pointed out that I had a tooth problem on my lower left jaw. He did not even have to look at my teeth, but I knew I did have a chipped tooth that needed to be repaired in that location.

Often physical ailments materialize because of emotional reasons. Our bodies are like babies. They talk to us the only way they know how – by crying. Our bodies “crying” can look like illness, pain, or other problems (like my tooth). There’s a great book by Karol Truman called “Feelings Buried Alive Never Die” which gives you the typical emotional feelings associated with common bodily issues.

According to her book, a lower tooth problem relates to Impatience. The left side of the body has to do with spirituality and receiving. No surprises there… I’ve never been the most patient person on the planet … especially when my spiritual eyes can see something in the future that I really want NOW.

aura photographyNot only can we read the status of our bodies in our energy systems, but also indicators of our emotional health show up in the energy systems.

For example, the scientist reading my aura photograph exclaimed, “Wow! you go, girl! You’re bright beautiful, symmetrical and just [excellent, first rate]!”

The inclusion of all the colors in the aura and its shape and size were what he was referring to.

He said, “You must be in communications. Your throat indicates a strong voice.” Look at the bright blue area on my neck for this. As an author, speaker, and teacher, this was no surprise. But I also wondered if it might relate to the fact that I had taken up singing in public a few months prior and had begun sharing my very vulnerable life situations online.

As my mentor, the creator of the SimplyHealedTM Method says, “There are no secrets in the energy field.”

Much of what we believe about energy systems we take on faith, but this experience was a fun opportunity for me to see in a more tangible way what was going on in my energy systems. Since only a few months earlier my mother had died and I’d gone through an unexpected divorce, it was incredibly affirming to see that the fast track to healing God sent me on, had indeed taken root at the most basic level of my being — in my energy systems.

If you’re ready to align your energetic systems with the personal growth, health and business success you seek, click here to learn how you can personally work with me to accelerate your healing and growth on both a personal and career level.

analysis paralysis

Analysis Paralysis: How Much Analysis Is Healthy?

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

As an analytical person, I would tend to agree with Socrates. Those who will not examine their lives tend to keep repeating the same mistakes. Yet, in this article, I’d like to issue a caution to my fellow analytically-minded readers. If you’re someone prone to self-examination, this is for you.

There comes a point where over-examination and too much analysis can be detrimental to our progress. There really is a thing called analysis paralysis where you can’t move forward because you’re too busy trying to examine the past or the present or what might happen in the future.

In my experience, the really awesome happenings in life were not orchestrated by me or my analysis. I simply chose a path the best I could, got into motion on that path, and doors of opportunities began opening as I moved my feet.

Many of us stay in analysis until we feel we or our idea are “perfect enough.” I have news for you. You and your ideas will never be perfect enough – and they certainly won’t reach any form of perfection if you don’t get out in the world and start acting upon them.

Sometimes we stay in analysis mode too long because we aren’t sure where to go. The more we stir the pot, the more confused we become. We’re waiting for that big heavenly download or vision to reveal to us the correct path.

Here’s the rub… rarely do we ever catch a big vision that propels us forward without taking a few steps down a path or at least making a clear choice about what path to take.  A wise gentlemen I know once said,

“Revelation comes as you use your agency to move your feet.” – Mark E. Mendenhall

Analysis Vs. Self-Criticism

The challenge many of us have is that we do not realize that analysis is only one part of the process. There comes a point that analysis must lead to action. In and of itself, analysis does not create or produce anything. It can formulate ideas for improving what is produced or created, but analysis is only a tool. When used correctly, analysis is like a laser beam that tells you what to cut away and what to keep.

french silk pieThis is rather a simple example, but Sunday I was making a French Silk pie. It’s a favorite with my boys, but I hadn’t made one in about a year. I was talking with my dad while making this pie, and ended up mixing my butter, sugar and melted chocolate while the chocolate was still hot. This made the combined ingredients turn into a soupy consistency when it should have been fluffy instead.

I thought for sure I’d ruined the pie. It was late at night, and I didn’t have enough butter left to start over. My first instinct was to berate myself for being so sloppy, not paying attention, messing up the pie, etc. Why hadn’t I been paying better attention? Had I allowed the berating to transform into full-blown criticism, I could have jumped to the conclusion that I’m a horrible mom for messing up the family favorite.

Fortunately, I didn’t do that. I stopped fussing at myself, analyzed the situation, and thought, “Hmmm… the butter just needs to get hard again.” I stuck the soupy mixture in the fridge, let it harden up, then whipped it as it should have been whipped. The pie turned out perfect.

Notice that analyzing the situation enough to find a solution is a healthy way to use our examination skills. You find a solution and go into motion with the solution. Sometimes your solution works, and sometimes it does not. But finding a viable solution through analysis is much different than berating oneself or going into full blown self-criticism. Neither of those lead to better results.

Many of us have spent so much time analyzing that we’re now cutting away at our own hearts, our own flesh, our own sinews and bones, our families, our loved ones, our homes, and our relationships. The tool that was given to us to create solutions and new and better things has now turned destructive and dangerous.

There can be too much of a good thing. I’m not saying to throw away the tool. I’m just saying use it wisely, compassionately and in balance.

Are You Over Analyzing?

Here are a few indicators that analysis has become counter-productive:

  • Your analysis becomes criticism.
  • You live so much in the past you can’t enjoy the present.
  • You have a hard time forgiving yourself or letting go of your past mistakes.
  • You have a hard time forgiving others and are still harboring ill will toward them.
  • You stay in analysis that never leads to decisive action.
  • You use analysis as a way to pretend you’re doing something, to hide from the greatness within you and the divine destiny you have ahead of you.
  • Analysis has become a stalling tool.

If you feel you might be stuck in analysis paralysis, I’m willing to bet that you are good. You have done the work you need to self-improve. It’s now down to the doing. My advice:

Don’t make life so difficult. God loves you the way you are. Love yourself the way you are. Dream. Have fun. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Love your life and what you can create.

Life is a big sandbox and God doesn’t care whether you build a castle today or a mote tomorrow. He wants you to use your creativity and self-expression to have fun  and build! He wants you to be the wonderful, beautiful you and show up in the world. As you do, He’ll orchestrate the right people and circumstances to lead you where you need to be. You bring your goodness and your beauty and let Him bless everyone around you through your touch.

Breakthrough Analysis Paralysis

Nothing holds entrepreneurs back like decision-making paralysis. Obsessing over which path to take kills time and creativity and keeps you from making progress toward success. The answer? Fast decisions and fast action. But this is a challenge for many entrepreneurs.

In this audio we’ll work through…

  • fear of regretting your decision later,
  • fear of picking one thing and missing out on all the other possibilities,
  • fear of being disappointed in your choice,
  • fear of suffering the ramifications of a wrong choice.

Many people suffer from decision paralysis because they were punished or judged for “wrong” decisions in the past.

If this is you, get this powerful energy-shifting module and breakthrough the fears associated with indecisiveness. In no time, you’ll be making wise, swift, and informed decisions that keep you moving forward along the path to success.

Audio Length: 60 minutes
MP3 Audio recording and Affirmation PDF
Only $17


Featured Image Copyright: Ivelin Radkov / BigStockPhoto.com

breakthrough experience

Book Review: The Breakthrough Experience

I was going through a sudden divorce and my mother’s passing in March. The grief and loss was excruciating. Then an acquaintance recommended The Breakthrough Experience by Dr. John Demartini as something that would help me make sense of it all. I bought it, on his recommendation and it changed my life forever.

The Breakthrough Experienced helped me finally understand the concept of the Law of Polarity, aka Divine Compensation. I began to look for everything I’d “lost” in the world all around me and realized nothing is ever lost. It’s all there in different forms and coming from different places.

After reading this book, I switched to “observer mode” and started finally seeing all the compensating blessings. Within a few short months, my life completely turned around and all my big dreams started falling into place. What’s more, I’m able to proceed through life seeing both the challenge and support in every situation. This realistic view of life has helped me avoid putting anyone or anything in a pit or on a pedestal. It’s helped me see the amazing blessings laced within any challenge.

Outside of scripture, I can honestly say this book is the most transformational book I’ve ever read. I love it and have recommended it to so many people.

If you get it, be sure to do the “Breakthrough Experience” exercise. It took me about 3 hours to do it, but it was well worth the time investment. I was able to completely release any ill-will toward my ex in record time. I was able to see that he was a gift in my life when he was there and that he gave me the most wonderful, incredible gift in letting me go. Had he not, I would not be living my dream today.

Read Inside:

setting boundaries

Reduce Stress by Setting Boundaries

One of the major lessons of my adult life has been setting boundaries. Whether they be emotional, financial, physical, spiritual or mental. I am such a keep-the-peace type of person by nature that in the past I gave over control of many aspects of my life to circumstances or people because

  1. I wasn’t clear where the line was between them and me. I was fuzzy about what’s my responsibility and what’s theirs
  2. When I did realize I needed to set a boundary, I didn’t want to deal with the anticipated “conflict” of doing so.

Thus, over the years, I owned other people’s emotions. I allowed money I earned to get spent unwisely by other people. I enabled other people to atrophy in their own responsibilities and character, over-invested in relationships that weren’t at a commitment level to warrant the investment, and didn’t take enough care of my own health.

I have learned that when I allow one area of my life to swell beyond boundaries, other areas suffer. For example, when I was a workaholic, my family suffered. When I over-invest in relationships, my work suffered. When I owned other people’s negative emotions, I became drained and didn’t have the energy to be there for the other people who needed me. When I didn’t take enough time for sleep and exercise, I got sick and stressed.

It’s a delicate balance.

Creating an Energetic Buffer Zone

For me, as an empath, one of the first boundaries I learned to set was between my emotions and someone else’s. I’m still not perfect at that, I still have a knee-jerk feeling of responsibility for easing other people’s upset emotions. Yet, I have developed somewhat of an energetic buffer zone where I create a shock absorber between other people’s emotions and me.

If I am, for example, in a room full of highly emotional people, I can use this buffer to mute my empathic abilities. This way, I can withstand the intense environment. Then I can reduce the size of the buffer and connect empathetically when I work with a client or want to be emotionally responsive to my significant other. If the environment was extremely intense, it may take a bit of alone time to rejuvenate, but I give myself that time and honor the need for it.


Another way I’ve prevented one or more areas of my life from getting out of balance is to use a schedule. I used to avoid schedules like the plague. I love spontaneity and going wherever the Spirit leads, but I have learned that a schedule is my friend. When I set clear work hours, free-time hours, and time for uninterrupted sleep and exercise, my life goes more smoothly.

Get Clarity

I still struggle with boundaries. I still take on responsibilities that are not mine. I still have a tendency to make excuses for other people as to why they can’t step up or contribute. As a result I tend to take on their part. But I’m learning that the clearer I am about where my boundaries are and the more clearly I communicate that to other people, the more I take back my personal power. I have come to finally realize that not setting and communicating clear boundaries is giving away my power.

It would be easy for me to blame other people and say they are trying to control my time and my life. But the fact of the matter is that it’s not their fault when I have not clearly communicated my boundaries. It’s not their fault when I don’t enforce my boundaries.

For example, as a work-at-home entrepreneur with teenagers, I set the boundary, “When my door is closed, please do not come in.”

In my romantic relationship, I’m setting boundaries like, “I work from 9 am to 3:15 pm every day. You’re welcome to text me, but please don’t expect a swift reply. If I have a moment I will reply during the day or perhaps it will need to wait until after I pick up my son at 4pm.” Or, “If you wake up thinking of me at 3 am and want to text, you are most welcome to do so, but please don’t expect a reply til morning.”

Be Flexible

As wonderful as boundaries are, life happens. There are special circumstances.. Loved ones go on vacations to tropical islands and want to touch base with you in (what for you) is the middle of the night. Elderly parents get sick and need your help during your work day. Schedules may need to be adjusted. Don’t be afraid to ask other family members or your church to assist you in such cases.

What areas of your life are causing you stress? Which areas feel out of control? Perhaps it’s time to get clear on setting boundaries. When you get clear with yourself and clear with others, you take back the power in your life and reduce stress significantly.

If you enjoyed this post, you  might also find this one helpful: Is Your Inability to Say “No” Making You Sick, Tired or Broke?

Mama's Funeral

A Tribute to My Mother, Betty J. Morton

betty jean whiteEulogy for Betty Jean Morton

By Marnie L. Marcus
Delivered 3/21/2017

Audio version: Eulogy for Betty Morton

My mother, Betty Jean Morton was born Betty Jean White on February 10, 1933 in Chattanooga, TN. She was the first child of five born to Thelma Brown White and Eugene R. White.  They lived in Athens, Tennessee at the time. This was a long trip by car back in those days and Betty was delivered by C-section with no anesthesia for her mother.

Mama graduated from Pekin High School in Pekin, Illinois. She has always been very intelligent and has been quite savvy with technology. After graduation she worked for an architect, lawyers, at TVA and assisted my dad in his dental office. She sang in the acapella choir in high school and loved to read.  In her younger years she read serious works like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky and Ayn Rand. I remember her telling me she read “War and Peace” and loved the “Fountainhead.”

Growing up, one of the visuals I have of Mama is her lying on her bed with her ankles crossed and an Agatha Christie paperback in her hand. She spent hours reading. I believe she read every Agatha Christie mystery multiple times. In her later years, she was an MC Beaten fan. She loved British Comedies and British Mysteries.

The Quintessential Southern Lady

Mama was always classy and refined. The quintessential southern lady, and always dressed stylishly and had her makeup on. The last time I saw her in the rehab center, she asked me for her purse so she could put on her eyebrows and lipstick. I had been in a rush that morning to take my boys to school and get up to Soddy-Daisy, I hadn’t even remembered to run a comb through my hair, much less put on makeup. I told her, “Mama, you have more makeup on than me. I completely forgot it.”


Music always filled our home. Mama had me taking piano lessons at five, and she was always playing music. Music was something she and Daddy particularly shared in their later years. They often went to community concerts with Hayden and Ianna Poe.

I remember Mama taking Thad and me to the Red Bank pool for swimming lessons in the summer. We’d swim for hours, and then she’d buy us a hotdog and a sprite from the hot dog stand. Those always tasted so heavenly after we’d worked up an appetite. After we got home, it usually seemed to thunderstorm in Daisy on summer afternoons. She’d put on her Johnny Mathis or some Percy Faith and we’d take an afternoon nap in the thunderstorm.

Keen Sense of Observation that Bordered on Psychic

Lisa and Karen tell a story of when they were little and they lived in Brainerd. They had come home from school on a winter day and had gone down to a cul-de-sac near where they lived. There was a puddle there that was iced over, and Lisa pretended to be ice skating on it. When they got home, Mama said, “Now y’all better not have been sliding on any ice out there.”

When Mama left the room, Lisa looked at Karen and said, “She’s a witch.” To this day, neither of them knows how Mama was aware of the fact that Lisa had been sliding on the ice. The cul-de-sac wasn’t anywhere they normally drove, and Mama couldn’t have seen them from any window.

While Lisa might have thought Mama was a witch, Karen always referred to her as The Burning Bush – so let it be written, so let it be done. If Mama said something was going to happen, it happened. Once she’d promised them ice-cream but her VW bug broke down on the way home with groceries. She managed to get them home with the groceries and then took them back out for ice-cream. If she promised it, it would happen.

betty and jack morton

Betty and Jack Morton, April 1966. 1 month before I was born.

Mama had a sixth sense about things, and it went really well with her giving nature. I remember one time when I was a young married mother with two children. I had been doing some laundry in our Ooltewah home, and realized I was out of fabric softener. Within an hour or so, who appeared at my door? Mama, bringing in a new bottle of fabric softener.

Mama would give you her last $20 bill. And she always paid you whatever she owed you down to the penny. She knew how to give, but she had trouble receiving. She wouldn’t let you give her anything without putting up a big fuss.


When my older three children were little, my husband and I were struggling financially and Mama bought my children’s clothes. She kept them well dressed. It seemed like every time she came over she brought some clothes for the kids or some grocery item for me. And every time she came, she helped me clean or do laundry. She loved to do laundry and iron. She had Lisa and Karen ironing pillow cases when they were little. She joked that she hoped when she went to heaven they’d let her work in the laundry.

At Christmas, she always wanted things to be fair – or at least look fair. Even if they really weren’t. She bought almost all of my kids’ Christmas for several years. She would only put hers and daddy’s names on a couple gifts – the same number as what she’d given other grandchildren. And then she’d put Santa or even my name on the other gifts so it looked like the gifts were not all coming from her.

Work Ethic

Mama had a work ethic that would not stop. Last summer, when their riding lawn mower broke, Mama weed eated her entire front lawn herself. She did it in little bits and pieces of time. And it looked immaculate. Not bad for an 83-year-old.

She taught her children to work, and being a hard worker covered a lot of other ills in her mind. Didn’t much matter what else a person did, if they were a hard worker and cared about other people, they were okay in Mama’s book. She wasn’t one to judge, but being lazy was not something she admired.

Her father taught her how to work, and she often lamented in her later years that she made her children work too much. But I really don’t think any one of us would agree with that. Yes, we had to work, but that work ethic has served us well and has passed down to our own children.

I remember Mama teaching me how to vacuum. She’d let me do it for a minute or two and then she’d stop me and say, “Let me show you.” Then she’d have me stand there and watch her do the job. You didn’t dare walk away. You were expected to watch and learn the proper way to do a task. To this day, I can’t stand by while other people are working, and I not be doing something myself.

About 8-10 years ago, I went to one of the Days of Service the church held in downtown Chattanooga. We were cleaning up yards in a rundown neighborhood. When everyone piled out of the cars and into the yard of this particularly disheveled home, everyone stood there, a bit overwhelmed about how to begin. It was bad.

I assessed the situation and started assigning people to do what I saw needed to be done. Later, the son of the woman who lived there asked if I was in charge. I said I wasn’t. He said, “Oh, I thought you were since you seemed to know what you were doing.”

I think this was the first time I realized how valuable my mother’s instruction had been growing up. I instinctively knew how to take an overwhelming task, break into pieces and get it done. Mama taught me that. When I got home, I called her and thanked her because I knew that was from her.


Mama had a keen sense of discernment. It sliced through error and left only clarity and truth. My dad said she could size up a political candidate faster than he could.  And anybody who knows Daddy, knows how sharp he is in that regard.

I remember in my youth, times when she warned my dad not to do business with certain people. Sure enough, those were the people who took advantage of his easy going nature and trust. Mama never got it wrong.

Not only did she discern the evil, but she saw the good. She saw the good in her children and cheered us on. My sister Karen once gave Mama a jewelry box that played, “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” Mama was the wind beneath all our wings. And the words are so fitting:

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
And everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
But I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

Family History

Mama carried within her heart a great love of family history. She did mounds and mounds of family history and documented it thoroughly. She not only did her own family history, she also did daddy’s and Chris’ and Glenn’s. She loved the temple and she saw that temple work was done for more people than I could possibly count.

The departed were not simply names on a pedigree chart to Mama. They were real people with stories. She knew all the family history stories of her family and my dad’s family. I often went to her when I was writing my historical fiction novels because she was such a treasure trove. Her mind was sharp and she remembered details.

Here’s another example of how her sixth sense went to work in combination with her other gifts. When I was writing An Uncertain Justice, which was about my 2nd great grandfather’s murder that occurred during the same period as my paternal grandparents met and married, I was digging into a lot of family history. My dad had mentioned to me that he was at the family history library working with Mama when he found some record of a grandfather on his Springfield line who had fought for the Confederacy  during the Civil War and was a deserter at Shiloh.

Since the novel I was writing was about how the Morton’s and the Springfields came together through the union of Sherman Morton and Edna Springfield, and since the Morton’s where Union veterans, I crafted this fun scene. It was about how the Union and Confederate backgrounds would clash alongside some of the other contrasts of these two families. I wrote a scene which I was very proud of. It was rather comical, and I had no intention of ever cutting it from the book.

I told no one about this scene. Not a soul. The same week I’d written it, I went to a Church Stake Conference and Mama sat down next to me and handed me a purple 3-pronged folder and said, “Here, you might need this.” I opened it up and there inside were the enlistment papers of this Springfield grandfather in the Union Army alongside his honorable discharge papers.

It was as if this grandfather had been reading my manuscript over my shoulder and said, “You do not make me a Confederate, and you do NOT make me a deserter.” Mama was so in tune, she rounded up those papers for him and delivered them into my hands.


Mama wrote recently,

“I am very old and in spite of wars and trouble (we are never going to be free of trouble) it was a good life and good people.

I’d like my grandchildren and gg children to know life in the past wasn’t all bad. I’ve had an interesting and exciting life at times. I lived in Germany 8 years after WW2 and saw places that weren’t free, saw burned out buildings from the war still there.”

Mama and Daddy both shared a love for freedom. She was a strong advocate of the US Constitution and was very vocal in her sphere of influence. She loved her country, and she was always concerned that her children and grandchildren live in freedom.


Probably what stands out most about Mama was her faith. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints back in 1970 along with my two older sisters, Lisa and Karen. Mama was the first in our immediate family to join the Church and we all owe our faith to her. She rarely ever missed a Sunday. She often said if she felt a little bad, she’d go anyway because by the time church was over, she’d be feeling good again.

Mama loved Relief Society and served in many capacities including Relief Society President, Meetinghouse Librarian and Family History Consultant. Back in the old days she made fudge with the Relief Society sisters, and they’d sell it as a fund raiser. She’d drive her old VW bug up to Knoxville for church meetings, even though the thing would break down on the way almost every time.

Mama had an amazing understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She taught me the mysteries of God and we shared many long conversations about life, and faith. She was my sounding board and my confidant. Mama exposed me to good books. I used to love to rummage through her bookshelf and find gospel treasures.


I remember her praying with us each morning before school. She’d listen to Luther on the radio, turn it down for a minute, say a prayer over our orange juice, toast and eggs and then turn Luther back up.  If I had a test that day, she’d say, “Say a little prayer.” In fact, before anything I was anxious about Mama would tell me to, “Say a little prayer.” That advice has served me well throughout my life. I did not doubt that Mama knew that prayer worked.

If any one of her family, friends, children or grandchildren were struggling in any shape or form, Mama would put their names on the temple prayer rolls.

Throughout everything I have done in my life, my mother has been my cheerleader, my greatest fan. I believe there is nothing more priceless in life than to have someone who believes in you, who will acknowledge the heavy burdens you carry, show sympathy, but have the faith that somehow, someway you’re going to pull through.

Mama was a person I knew I could go to and ask her to pray for me. I knew her mother’s love would cut through the clouds like a beacon of light and call down the blessings of heaven upon my head. I am so blessed to have had a mother who let me know in a million ways that I am loved, that I matter to her and that I matter to God.

betty mortonMother’s Love

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I feel and know that the same goes for mothers. Height, nor depth, nor any creature can separate me from my mother’s love. It is pure and holy, timeless and eternal as the love of my Savior. Her love IS my Savior’s love.

Nothing could ever restrain Mama’s love for us or her tender loving care. She has always been our angel mother, and she will ever be… now with more power and glory and even more access to the Savior’s grace.

I feel her near. She is with me in my thoughts. She is forever in my heart. Forever in my soul.

I am overcome with joy that she is in a beautiful place, in the arms of her Savior, her Heavenly Father, who she adored and served ever faithfully. I’m sure she has been greeted by throngs of loved ones and ancestors.

Not many people on this earth are blessed to have the kind of love we have enjoyed from our mother, grandmother and friend. Our hearts break now because it feels we have lost a huge piece of ourselves. She was so much a fabric of the foundation of our lives. But I know she is not lost to us. She will never be forgotten, and she is ever with us. She’s in heaven, preparing a place for us with Granny and Papaw White and Sherman and Edna, Aunt Thadda, and her old lunch bunch friends like Katie and Al Adamz and Marvin and Sarah May.

We teach in this church that families are forever. But Christ-like friends are forever too. Joseph Smith taught that the same sociality that exists here will exist with us there.

Mama left this earth on the afternoon of March 15, 2017, in her own home, in her own bed, and was greeted by a heavenly throng of family, friends, and ancestors who honored and cheered for her as she met her Savior.

Mama can say as the Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

May we all remain faithful and join her in those eternal realms of glory, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

tribal leader

Tribal Leader, Movement Leader, Thought Leader? Which Are You?

Do you consider yourself a leader? Do people follow you? Even if it is a small group? Have you ever considered whether you might be a

  • Tribal Leader
  • Movement Leader or a
  • Thought Leader?

Is there a difference and why would it matter which type you are? I think it’s important to consider what type of leader you are so that you can be more effective in your own style of leadership. Let’s look at what each one entails. Keep in mind a couple of these definitions are mine. So this isn’t written in stone.

Tribal Leader

Seth Godin who wrote the book Tribes, defined a tribe this way

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” ― Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

So a tribal leader is someone who has a shared interest with a group that they’ve gathered. And they have an active way of communicating back and forth with this group. Members of the tribe also have ways of communicating with each other and with their leader.

Movement Leader

tribal leader

A Movement Leader would be someone who is creating a shift in thinking in order to create change. A Tribal Leader could be a Movement Leader if the shared interest with their community is about facilitating some kind of change.

President Trump is a great example of a Movement Leader. He frequently says it’s not about him; it’s about the movement. He has continued to operate as a Movement Leader and not just a President of the United States.

This is one thing that distinguishes his presidency, besides his “get it done” and “keep campaign promises” philosophy. Then, again, even his follow-through is an outgrowth of having built a relationship of trust with his tribe. He wants to maintain that trust by following through on promises.

I think it would be difficult for an effective Movement Leader to not also be a Tribal Leader. Effective Movement Leaders have two-way communication with their followers. You also see sporadic groups popup for tribal members to communicate with each other. For example, there are several “Women for Trump” Facebook groups you can join.

Because he considers himself a movement leader, President Trump continues to conduct rallies long after he’s won the election. He still wants to be among the people and listening to them. This is also why he conducts meetings where he listens to educators, police chiefs, business people, etc. and incorporates their feedback into his policies.

Thought Leader

Tony Kershaw wrote in his article, “The 5 I’s of Thought Leadership:”

“To me, thought leadership is the process of combining your professional and personal experiences to explain a big idea. The process should influence how people perceive the world they live in and should help them re-imagine it from a different point of view. Thought leadership connects seemingly disparate ideas together and inspires new ways of thinking and behaving.”

“To become a thought leader, you must build a reputable brand around your ideas. The difference between regular leaders and thought leaders is that thought leaders have a large following while their regular counterparts don’t.”

A Thought Leader is someone who teaches, informs and educates around a concept or idea. Thought Leaders have lots of people reading their books, following their work, and listening to them. But they don’t necessarily create a community or two-way communication between themselves and the people who follow them. They don’t necessarily facilitate ways for their followers to communicate with each other either. If they do, then we’re back to Tribal Leader. 🙂


The average leader is not a Thought, Movement or Tribal Leader. To be a Thought Leader you need scale. You need lots of people following you. But leaders show up in all aspects of our lives. Parents are leaders. Teachers are leaders. My husband who is a School Resource Officer is a leader and mentor for youth. Never under-estimate the impact you can have on the lives you touch.

Do you consider yourself a leader? Which type are you? And are you happy with that type or would you like to morph into another?

create better life

9 Steps To Create A Better Life

Would you like to create a better life? These are the 9 steps that will take you from a life that frustrates you to the one you envision in your dreams. I learned learned these through my own personal experience.

1 Release any victim mentality and acknowledge and absorb the fact that you have the right, permission, and privilege of creating the life you desire.

create better life2 Envision the life you desire. Seek a divine confirmation that it’s in your highest good.

3 Emotionally engage with your vision. What does it look like? How will you feel when it’s here? Immerse yourself in the vision and the emotions of it. Bathe in it.

4 Make any personal changes you need to be worthy, deserving and capable of receiving and enjoying the vision. Let the vision hold you accountable in the little decisions along the way.

5 Grow a spine. Say no to anything that is outside your vision or will lead you away from it. Say yes to anything that aligns with it. Clear boundaries are essential.

6 Keep refining your vision, allow God to have input into it. What you thought you wanted may not be best for you. Allow the vision to morph.

7 Surrender to God how, when, where and who else is involved.

8 Trust God’s timing is perfect. Live in gratitude that the vision is on its way to you.

9 Embrace it when it arrives and continually live in gratitude and wonder to God for His divine orchestration, mercy for mistakes you made along the way, and generosity. What comes will be much better than anything you envisioned.

Notice nothing in this says you have to think or act perfectly along the way. You’re going to make mistakes and sometimes royally screw up.

You’ll struggle with doubt, negative thoughts and maybe even depression. You may even feel betrayed by and angry with God.

Adjust, get back on track, ask for forgiveness but most of all forgive yourself. You probably will feel you didn’t deserve the blessing in the end. Forgive yourself and accept God’s amazing mercy and grace.

Are you ready to create your own amazing life? Click here to learn more.