I’ve been chased out of two stores—on two different continents—by store owners, wielding meat cleavers. The first time was in San Francisco’s Chinatown when the owner nodded at my camera and screamed, “Not in store! Not in store!” then proceeded to run out from behind the counter and chase me down Stockton Street.
From what I could surmise, I’d insulted the dignity of a row of headless ducks in the window.
A couple of weeks ago while I was in South Florida, filming my new TV show, Food Quest, on the Food Network, I went for a run. As I pushed open the front door of the hotel, I realized how windy it was outside.
Like any good runner, I decided to head into the wind on the first part of my journey so I could take it easy on the way back.
I love lemons, but not long ago I squeezed one so hard it ripped the inside of my thumb. How did I not know you’re supposed to roll tough lemons before cutting and squeezing them? While recuperating from surgery I reflected on the various accidents I’ve had over the years.
I was surprised at how many could be attributed to rushing, including this one.
PHOTOGRAPH ©BRENDA COFFEE, 2018
Over margaritas and quesadillas my girlfriends and I reflected on some of the difficult times in our lives. Referring to a particularly stressful time one of my friends matter-of-factly stated she’d “lost her glue,” to which I replied, “I can identify. My glue died,” referring to my husband, James. While our individual stories prompt serious conversation, the real question for all of us—at one time or another—is how do we change what’s not working in our lives?
How do we get our mojo back? More importantly, how do we become our own glue?
Occasionally I have the privilege of speaking to a group of women, from professionals to young mothers. In the coming weeks I have three such engagements, and from my long list of topics, they all chose the same one: “When Good is Never Enough.”
It’s one of my most requested presentations because women battle perfectionism, daily, no matter what their stage of life.
Ah December. It’s a month when the “most wonderful time of the year” brings with it both joy and stress. We barely say goodbye to Thanksgiving before the frantic pace begins, with a push to get more done in our already-limited free time. As we entertain, shop and cook for family gatherings, the world tries to divert our attention away from the real meaning of Christmas toward the best deals. Retailers try to convince us they have the perfect gift, when the only true, perfect gift was given to us in the form of a tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. Continue Reading
PHOTOGRAPH ©BRENDA COFFEE
The other night I reread the beginning of Keith Richards’s autobiography, Life. Keith grew up listening to everything from Mozart and Bach to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. When he was 13, Keith used to walk around his bedroom, holding a tiny radio up to his ear, twisting the antennae just so until he could get an intermittent signal from Radio Luxembourg. He said the night he heard Elvis Presley, singing “Heartbreak Hotel,” was “like an explosion.” The next day he “was a different guy.” Whether he knew it or not, Keith Richards had just found his passion, that thing that gave meaning to his life.
One of the greatest gifts we’ll ever receive is discovering who we are and finding our passion.
A few months ago, I had the privilege of spending time in northern Uganda, leading women’s conferences in two communities, Pader and Soroti, where women are recovering from unimaginable trauma. I wrote about their hope in the midst of poverty and their true beauty which comes from their faith and joy, not their outward appearances.
These women have showed resilience, perseverance and a deep desire to make their lives better through learning simple crafts, providing income to support their families.
If you’ve read Doreen McGettigan’s blogs on 1010ParkPlace then you know her life hasn’t been easy. She was sexually abused by a priest when she was eight; raped at 13 by her mother’s boyfriend; her house burned down when she was 14; she married and had her first baby in her teens, and her youngest brother was brutally beaten—by an angry mob—in a random road rage incident. He was left for dead, suffered severe brain damage and died a few days later. It was an unspeakable act that divided a town as well as Doreen’s family.
Instead of succumbing to what could have taken down the strongest of warriors, Doreen became an outspoken advocate for victim’s rights and the homeless.
They say everyone has a story, and I believe this is true. I also understand everyone doesn’t want to tell their story.
Some feel emotionally unable to share something so personal.