learning to balance chaos_trees

2016 has been a year of so many changes and unexpected twists for me, and maybe for many of you, too.  My year started out very well…everything seemed to me moving along according to my plan. You may know that I am a planner by nature. I plan my year, my quarter, my month, my week and even my day. I love to write out my plan, it makes me happy to be organized. And that organization has helped me to stay on top of two very demanding businesses, an active family life, and the other things that mean so much to me, like exercising, playing with my pup and reading. 

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, late last spring all that planning seemed to go awry as my world began to spin on a new axis. My mother was diagnosed with cancer and it became clear that it would be best for her to move in and stay with me so that I could help her build her strength as she began treatment. My world had to take a new shape…one that required being more flexible and free-flowing and, yes, less planned. As challenging as that is for someone like me, finding a new way to navigate my world has created new opportunities. 
 One of the most profound moments for me during this past year was hearing my mother speak to one of her doctors after yet another surgery. This surgery in particular seemed to come from left field and was a tough one to swallow. The doctor remarked about my mom’s indomitable spirit and she responded by saying,  “I am a competitive bridge player, Doc, and one thing I know for sure is that you cannot alter the hand you are dealt, but you can change the way you play the cards.” 
There is so much power in realizing that you can change how you play out your life, no matter what life hands you. Every morning I have been writing this statement to myself as a reminder of how I want to experience my day (and yes, in the midst of all this chaos I am still trying to plan my days!). Just living by this mantra has already helped me frame my choices.
As 2016 comes to a close, I invite you to do the same thing in your own way. I have been making a list of all the things that I have enjoyed this year as well as all the things I have learned. What a powerful exercise!  Maybe you’d like to make a list of all that you’ve accomplished this year, or make a gratitude list, or perhaps you want to just take a few moments to reflect on your experiences during 2016.  And when you are ready, let’s look forward to 2017 with renewed energy and enthusiasm. I am excited to start 2017 with you!

Here’s to playing a great game!

With love, green juice and a deck of cards,

joanne's signature


  1. I am hoping to come out over the other side of this long and challenging journey. It has been with the affection, dedication and commitment of Joanne and her family that I have come this far. I am in awe of their patience and loving help during my illness. Oh and I can’t wait to get back to the Bridge table!

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