Category Archives: Relationship

Moments we miss, that are not about us, yet have everything to do with our ability to listen on a heart level.


learning how to hear hearts by listening from my heart and into the depth from which a person speaks.
……learning how to hear hearts by listening from my heart and into the depth from which a person speaks.

Moments we miss, that are not about us, yet have everything to do with our ability to listen on a heart level.

The bride rushed into the dressing room and began to cry. My heart knew what was wrong, but as a life coach, I know outcomes are best when given permission to speak into a situation. I waited for her to express with her words, so I could ask her if I could help.

I shared with my client my expertise and experience in relationship building and on being solution-oriented in relational conflict. And then I asked her permission to talk with her mom about the issue at hand. Not only did she agree that I may help, she emphatically said “Please!”

In another room her mom sat oblivious to her blunder. Upon entering I gently stated, “All brides want their moms to love the dress they will walk down the aisle in, and the last thing they want is to think about a negative comment she made about it.” I looked on her with empathy as I saw the problem come into her awareness.

“Oh no, I really messed up, didn’t I?” she asked.

“Not irreversibly.” I answered.

She asked my advice on how to fix it, so I offered suggestions on how to hear her daughter’s heart. Out came the bride from the dressing room, now wearing a different gown.  After a few moments the precious mom stood near her daughter and asked her to go retry the previous gown.

When she returned wearing her favorite gown, the mom wept. Her daughter’s face lit up as she asked her mom, “Do you love it now, too?”

She answered, “I love how much you love it..."
She answered, “I love how much you love it…”

She answered, “I love how much you love it. I didn’t see this before, and for that I am sorry.” They embraced each other as they both cried.

I don’t know about you, but I have missed too many moments when I could have connected on a heart level. I have learned and am still learning how to hear hearts by listening from my heart and into the depth from which a person speaks.

Several months after this, the bride wrote a review stating that her relationship with her continues to be better than it had ever been. Now THAT makes my heart sing!

As we enter the holiday season, step back and take a look at the hearts God has placed in your path. Do you honor them, or do you crush them with your own opinion? Please comment below.

If you wish to receive more posts on client and relationship building, please submit your name and a good email address in the form on the upper right side of my web page.

P.S. If you have tissue, watch this touching video of parents meeting their daughter’s heart donor recipient.  <for video click this link.

When “On It” Does Not Mean “Under You.”

I called Mom who answered her phone sounding hurried. She said she was looking for her phone but couldn’t find it. I said, “Mom you are on it.” She said hold on I will look. I could hear shuffling, then she said, “No, I am not on it.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 10.22.05 AM I looked at my cell phone to see what number I had dialed, then asked what phone she was looking for. She said “My cell.” That is the phone I was talking to her on. I giggled and insisted that she was “on it.” She sounded irritated with me, but called to my stepdad saying, “Ray, Amy insist that I am on it, will you come look under me?”

I now had a full blown belly laugh going. She was so irritated with me as she said she was “in a hurry and had to hang up so she could find her phone.” Knowing dang well that she was looking under her body, each time I told her she was on it, I said it one more time.

“Mom you are ON IT.” LOL “Amy I AM NOT, we looked.”

I know that hitting the target is not the targets responsibility. In Bob Burg’s book, Adversaries Into Allies, he says, “One surefire way of successfully taking responsibility for hitting the communication target is to avoid giving-or accepting-mixed messages.”

To be more clear in my communication, I asked her what hand she was holding her phone with. She answered “My left. Amy, I am in a hurry.” I said, “Okay okay, look at your left hand, and you will find your phone.” I heard her voice fade as she pulled the phone from her face saying, “Oh look Ray, Amy found my phone.”

Sometimes saying the same thing, the same way, over and over are again, is not effective communication. If I miss my target, I am the one who must adjust.

Giant Jesus Popsicle- My Learning Model For Success


Giant Jesus Popsicle.
Giant Jesus Popsicle.

I got the most people to go to church; therefore, I won the trash-can-sized, giant, Jesus popsicle, that had a 2×4 as the stick. Little did I know that the memory of this event would become my learning model for success.

When I was seven years old, a church bus picked up anybody who wanted to go to church. My brothers, sister, some friends, and I would go each Sunday. I especially loved learning that God lives in the mansion of my heart.Before going to sleep each evening, I sat on the side of the bed, reaching up to tap my heart to let Jesus know to “hang on, because I am laying down now.” I didn’t want Him to fall over when the mansion went on its side as I slept. Each morning I patted my heart to tell Him to “Wake up now; I am getting out of bed.”

The day the Sunday school teacher announced the giant popsicle contest to see who can get the most people to go to church, I began testifying of the love of God. I went door to door that afternoon and told parents and their children that Jesus lives in a mansion in my heart, and He will live in theirs, too. I shared how I was never alone and how He was watchful over me. I told them how “He guides me and protects my every move.” (Tweet)

I shared that all they had to do was meet me at my house, 336 West Cheryl Place, next Sunday morning and the bus would take all of us where they, too, could get Jesus in their hearts. That next Saturday, I again went door to door to remind them that the bus would be there in the morning. Sunday morning came, and there was a long line of twenty-three children in front of my house waiting to get on that bus to go to church.Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 11.16.03 PM

I was so excited to know that this many children would get Jesus in their hearts that day. (Tweet) I stood by the bus door and cheerfully welcomed each one of them as they boarded. They were excited, too, in fact one little girl, Smelly Cathy they called her, thanked me for letting her know about this. I think it was more my pleasure than hers, because I knew what they were all about to receive.

At church it was announced that I had won the giant popsicle. (Tweet) My new friends and I jumped up and down and cheered. Funny thing is, I had forgotten about the popsicle, because I was so focused on what the children would get. The bus dropped us off in front of my house with the trash-can-sized, popsicle. One of the church employees was trying to pull the giant popsicle out of the trash can, until the bus driver laughingly told them to leave it in the trash can. It took three men to off-load it into my yard. LOL It was huge!

I told the children to wait as I ran in the house to get spoons with which all of us could dig into the popsicle. I ran inside and shouted, “Mom, look outside at how many children have Jesus in their heart mansions,” as I grabbed spoons. She followed me out and said, “Oh, honey, you won! ” I say, they won, because they met their Abba Father that day.

Do you see my learning model for success? First of all, I see that God is my business partner. Next I see that I knew and focused on the value the people would get. Next, I was detached from the outcome of winning that popsicle. Due to being detached from the outcome,  I know I am a winner even without that popsicle, AND the popsicle is great!

Being a Go Giver, (see Bob Burgs book here)  is just who I am, not just what I do.  (TWEETABLE)

Can you think back to an early childhood success, then find your learning model for success?

PS. This post was inspired by an exercise I was asked to do, by Paul Martinelli and Roddy Galbraith  in a group mastermind study of Think And Grow Rich. Thank you my mentors, I love y’all.

Value Story is About the People It Touches

This story begins at The Bridal Salon of San Antonio and hopefully will end in your heart. At the Salon, some days brides cry in our arms as we help them know which dress they love; other days we say a thing or two that helps a mom realize that she is pushing her daughter into wearing the dress that only the mom likes.  This day was the Saturday after thanksgiving, and nothing particularly out of the ordinary had happen so far, until one of my team mates came and got me, to talk with her bride. Little did I know that I would get a life lesson in giving value. (Tweetable)

I went into the dressing room where the bride told me she had found the dress, but couldn’t get it now, because her dad “is in the hospital dying.” I said, “Will you take this dress and veil to the hospital and let your daddy see you?” She tilted her little head side ways as she raised her chin to look up at me. Tears filled her tender little eyes.  And now tears filled my eyes, because I knew at that moment, the words I spoke to her, were a gift. I was giving her a gift; a memory was getting ready to be written on her heart that otherwise would not have happened.

I hurried her out of the salon with the dress, as she turned and said, “You don’t have my credit card and what if I get it dirty?” I said, “It’s just fabric. We are dealing with a heart here; go show your daddy.” (Tweet That) A few hours later, after getting her brother and family together to film the moment with her dad, the family woke her father, opened the suite doors, behind which she dressed and she walked over to her dad. Her words describe it best.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 8.49.37 PMMy daddy saw me walk in wearing the most beautiful dress. He was really weak. He smiled and just kept looking at me. I held his hand, and he held mine. I asked him if I looked like a princess. He always called me that, a little princess. He nodded. He looked at me a little more, and it almost looked like he was about to cry. And then he went to sleep.”

Three days later her father died, and she shared this story with a newspaper reporter Michael Quintinilla who wrote and published a beautiful article about it. (If you would like to read the article, I’ve provided a link: (Read more) )

My lesson in value giving began days later, after I read about the story in the newspaper. Her Dad…I didn’t think of her dad. When I offered for her to take the dress to him, I was just thinking of her, but it also touched a dying fathers heart.

In addition to touching her dad, a gentleman called the Bridal Salon, after reading the newspaper article about it to tell me that the story restored his faith in mankind. (Tweet That) In fact, the Sunday after he read it, his wife again asked him to go to lunch with someone that he didn’t particularly want to go with and that he always said no too. He reflected, on the story, and decided, “to go give it try.” He said he quite enjoyed himself and that he is now a changed person, who will consider his wife’s request more readily.

Another lady walked into my Bridal Salon after reading the article, and said, “My daughter died in a wreck, and I will never be able to give her a wedding, so I want to contribute the first  $100 towards the bride getting her dress.” We wept in each others arms. Before she left, she looked up on a shelf, and there was a picture of her daughters best friend, in a wedding gown.

A tire shop owner was driving on the highway in a hurry, when he passed by a man with a flat. He kept driving, but the story was in his heart, so he turned around and went back the ten miles he had driven away, and helped the man with his tire. It turns out that the 90 yr old man he helped, really touched his heart, because he did not have a cell phone, and had been there four hours; nobody had stopped. The tire shop owner said he will now look for people to help. (Give this a tweet)

Pastor, and New York Times best selling Author Max Lucado used the story as part of his Christmas Sermon, and later included the story in his book called Grace. The chapter he wrote about it is called “Unscrooged Hearts.” (You can buy his book here)

And still, I learned a greater lesson, in value giving: I was reluctant to share the story, but as people who read it called saying it changed their heart, I realized that the story was Gods story, not mine, and  I had to put my ego away and be glad to share with people.  You see, when I just thought about me, I didn’t want to share it, which was making it all about me, but what I discovered was that a value story once shared, is no longer about the story teller, but about the people it touches. (Tweet Dat Line.)

Next To Whom Are You Sitting?


I remember my elegant Granny saying, “If you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.” (Tweet That)

I bet the senator’s wife of the following story wished she had known my granny when she was a child.


imageAt church, one of my wealthy friends was sitting next to the wife of the senator of whose campaign she generously contributed. The pastor of the church was talking about the new bus ministry. He spoke of how they are busing in the poor underprivileged children, “so they can socialize and be exposed to new and prosperous experiences.”


The senator’s wife leaned in to the wealthy contributor and snootily whispered, “I am not sure how I feel about my children socializing with bus ministry children.” 


Without missing a beat, the lovely contributor whispered back, “Well, you are sitting next to one.” 


What thought comes to mind, when you read this? How would you have responded?

Oh, the rest of the story: After the meeting, the contributor helped the senators wife feel better, by assuring her that she too had said things she wished she hadn’t. She was gracious with her.



How To Respond Your Way Out of Victim-hood

Awe with green back ground
 With his intention set on creating closer family relationships, “Anthony,” my client, worked on how to respond his way out of victim-hood. With positive intentional responses, there is no relationship that can’t be made better.(Tweet That).   

For the purpose of this story, a reaction is a not-so-positive way of acting that results in separation rather then reconciliation. A response, on the other hand, is based on kindness to self and to others with the intention of positive results.

Shortly after Anthony arrived at his brother “Ben’s” house, Ben told him that he would be sleeping on the pallet on the shed floor. Ben literally picked up Anthony’s duffel bag, and with Anthony, his niece “Carly,” and sister-in-law “Claire” following him, he carried it out to the shed.

Anthony told me, he was just “going with the flow as to not create friction.” But after he saw the pallet of blankets and a pillow on the floor, he felt like a victim again, “because there was a perfectly good guest room in the house.”

Before our work together, Anthony’s auto-reaction would have been to silently lie on that pallet and feel bad about how he was being treated. Or he would have over-reacted thereby looking like the one who was unkind.

Anthony remembered his intention of creating better family relationships, while respecting himself and others. (Tweet that) He picked up his duffel bag from the shed floor, and gently turned to walk towards the house, as he walked past all three of them saying, “Oh, no thank you. I am the guest; I will be sleeping in the guest room.” (The key here is the kindness in the response, and remaining kind regardless of what Ben did, or would do.)

His brother Ben, his sister-in-law Claire, and his tiny niece Carly all followed him as he stepped into the guest room, sat on the edge of the bed, and said, “This is fine, I will be comfortable here.”

Ben stood in the doorway of the guest room with his hands on his hips. His little niece was looking up at her dad as if expecting his customary explosion, as was Ben’s wife. Anthony told me,  he knew in that moment that he was showing his family how to respond their way out of victim-hood with kindness. “Well, okay then,” said Ben who just turned and walked away, not bringing it up again.

The next day, Claire, his sister-in-law, commented to Anthony about how different he was, and she told him she respected him more in that moment than she ever had before.

Since that day, Anthony’s brother has reached out to him to ask “how he got so much freedom?” He too, wanted what Anthony had. It turns out that Ben,  may have been shouting, “Somebody stop me,” because Ben is much happier in Anthony’s new found strength too.

I know sometimes, I still have to stop, and think of my intention, before I respond, Do you? It does become a natural response after practicing this though. When have you dealt with certain situations in a reactive way? Do you see that the relationship can be better served with an intentional response?



Father of Bride Engages His Daughter’s Heart


Your attitude affects the people around you.” ~Mom 

At our Bridal Salon, one of our brides had to get a second dress, to accommodate her now eight month’s pregnant body. Her pre-pregnant visit to our Salon was a wonderful experience, as both of her parents helped her pick her gown. During the second visit, however, her dad was no longer engaged in the process. In fact, he sat back quietly as the bride and her mom shopped. I wondered whether he knew she was pregnant.

In the privacy of the dressing room, I asked the bride whether he knew, and how he was handling the news. She relayed that he knew but would not speak of it. I asked her permission to speak with him to change his heart about it, and she said, “Yes, please.”

I went to the sofa, sat near him to acknowledge the situation as gently as I knew how. I said, “Mr. ‘Dad’, (and of course that is not his real name.Wink) I can imagine that you may wish your daughter wasn’t pregnant at her wedding, and for that I am sorry.” He made eye contact with me and looked so sad.  I continued, as I patted his knee, “But she is, in fact, carrying in her tummy a precious child and your grandchild, a gift. It’s a beautiful gift, just bad timing.”

I continued and offered that he had choices to make that can either help or hurt his daughter. He asked what choice he could “possibly have.” I told him he could stay quiet and act like she wasn’t pregnant, thereby rejecting her. “And on her wedding day, when people see you so disengaged, they may perhaps whisper about you being upset. OR you can stand next to your daughter and fill that entire church and reception with your accepting attitude. You can proudly announce your daughter, her husband, and your soon to arrive grandchild.” I continued that it wouldn’t hurt to be honest about the facts: “bad timing, but a child is a beautiful gift.”

He got up from the couch, walked over to his daughter, who was now watching our exchange from the mirror, as she stood in a new gown. He stopped between her and the mirror, put his hands on her hips, looked up at her (she was up on a pedestal), and said, “I remember the day I brought you home from the hospital;…” He began to cry, as he finished, “it was the best day of my life.” The bride wrapped her arms around her daddy’s neck and wept with him. Tweet This  After a few minutes, he thanked her that he wouldn’t have to wait too long for his grandchild.

In the end they didn’t choose the gown that hid her belly, but they chose a gown that she loved. I still hear from that bride’s mom as she sends many people to our Salon. She said her husband was proud of his daughter at her wedding and actually announced them at the reception. He said, “Introducing my new son, my daughter, and my grandson.” He said, “Beautiful gift, bad timing.” Tweet This Everyone applauded.