The Gift of Synergy

img_3842Monday afternoon my Core Team and I met online for our weekly administrative meeting. We used the very official Zoom technology, at the official time of 12:30, for the official purpose of moving Back to Basics forward.

This is how it went.

Connie: [Sending off son to preschool, removing cookies from a cookie sheet before they harden, madly hitting keys on the laptop sitting on the counter.] “I can’t get on Zoom, the link’s not working, or maybe it’s just 50-year-old me, wait—is it working? No, it’s not. Wait…no. What am I doing wrong?”

Mary: “Hang on, I smell something. It’s the dog! Oh, you don’t want to know…” [Leaves screen]

Ashlyn: “I’ve got a poopie diaper to change, be right back.” [Leaves screen].

Whitney: [Alternately leaving and coming to the screen] “I’m here, carpool in 15 mins, and then 30 mins img_4914-2after that.”

Connie: “Okay, ladies, we’re all on, let’s roll.”

Yep, that’s high-tech, high-powered moms Getting It Done. 

Why do I share this? Because this is HOW IT IS! For all moms trying to love and serve their families, and others in their lives, and fulfill their personal purpose to extend even farther. That’s why I love these amazing women. Not just because they are truly amazing. Not just because they have the best hearts, the kindest words, the savviest wisdom, or the best talents that they so willingly share…

But also because they are so symbolic of women like you. Everywhere I speak, every woman I get the privilege of talking to reminds me of this truth. You get up each day, face crushing burdens—health, financial, emotional, relational—and face it with courage, ability, tenacity, and a whole lot of hidden power snacks (Ritter with Hazelnut…)

fullsizerender-2So why do we do it? Because we also know we’re here at a pivotal time in history to make a difference and be of influence.

My Core Team women have combined efforts, have essentially thrown their talent/wisdom/kindness kernels into the pot and man oh man, has it started to pop! Incredible things are happening because women were willing to open themselves up to new experiences, share their widow’s mite (their definition not mine) of talents, and learn new skills all for this main reason:

To help women and families draw closer to Deity, and to live purposeful, organized, and joyful lives.

Each time we meet I’m inspired and uplifted. Each time we combine our gifts we create. Each time we connect we leave rejuvenated and ready to give back to our families and friends more fully.

img_5175My point today is—open yourself up and throw in your widow’s mite kernels. Add it to whatever is nudging or outright pushing you. Don’t give in to fear, skepticism, anxiety, worry, overwhelm, or whatever it is that may keep you in a less-than place. Of course you won’t do everything that calls to you, but just that one action/call/connection/to do that hums on that divine current. The thing that keeps coming back. The thing that says, This is part of your purpose, and I’ll help you find the way.

And when you do, I’m going to guess that it will involve other women. Great women. Everyday women whoimg_5174 do great things. And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get to Zoom conference and squeeze in carpool and laugh over motherhood realities, and know that in the process someone’s got your back and fills your soul.

Thank you, Core Team Women—Ashlyn, Whitney, Mary—and all assistants and cheerleaders—Stephanie, Ginger, Meeshell, BYU Marriott Interns, Asenath, and so many more, who make Back to Basics grow and give back. And thanks to all good women who give of themselves every day to make their world a better place.

Love,

Connie

First-time Sneak Peek at my Christmas novella!

sodachristmas_cvr_xsmlWith the holidays coming, I’m feeling the excitement begin. And that includes a first-time Sneak Peek at my Christmas novella!

Soda Fountain Christmas was originally published in the bestselling Echo Ridge Anthology. Now my novella is available on sale for a limited time at $2.99.

Want to savor it during Christmas? Buy now, read later! And partial proceeds are donated to the Utah Food Bank.

And a special two-fer today, one of my co-authors, Cami Checketts, is sharing her novella too, Christmas Makeover (see below). Cami is fantastic, both as a super-bestselling author and a compassionate, vivacious woman and mother. It was a joy to be a part of this anthology with her!

Before life gets a go-go, curl up in your favorite blanket, and cozy into these clean romances of two lives wanting to make more together.

Available on Amazon and www.conniesokol.com

Happy reading!

Connie


For my good friend, Cami Checketts:

I can’t believe we’re already releasing Christmas books, but I love everything about the season so I don’t mind getting started early. You may have read these two Christmas books before. Christmas Makeover was originally published in Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Romance, but is now for sale on its own. Also, if you sign up for my newsletter on the form below you can receive a free copy of Full Court Devotion, which was originally published in Christmas in Snow Valley. 
Thanks for all the support!
 
Find Christmas Makeover:

Chelsea Jamison has been infatuated with Drew Stirling longer than she’s loved playing basketball, high-top sneakers, and the Knicks. Unfortunately, all Drew sees is the kid who kicked his trash in the high school free throw contest and not the girl whose heart breaks into a fast dribble when he’s near. 
Drew makes an unexpected visit home to Echo Ridge and their friendship picks up where they left off as they scheme to make a teenaged boy’s Christmas dreams come true. When Chelsea realizes she’s fallen for her best friend, she wonders if there is any hope of a relationship with Drew or if she’s stuck in buddy-status for life.
 

Did you miss Connie yesterday on Studio 5?

motherhood-300x200

If so, you can watch it here or read it on ksl.com.  Connie gives advice on how a parent can create connections or fill needs of their children with their individual personalities. The good news is that we don’t have to know everything — just the key things and how to look for them.  

Ready for a Back to Basics Chat Night?

chat-night-featured-imageBring a friend and enjoy a FREE B2B Chat Night!!  It’s a Studio 5 segment on steroids. We discuss, apply, and connect with other women in your community.

Check out a FREE B2B Chat Night at a Library near you.


October 13th – Spanish Fork Library, 7-8 p.m.

October 20th – Highland Library, 7-8 p.m.

November 16th – American Fork Library, 7-8 p.m.

FREE, but pre-register (space is limited) and be entered to WIN gift baskets, downloads, and B2B Programs!! Pre-register here.

Know the magic bullet in connecting?

Over the weekend, a good friend texted me one morning with the news of a tragedy that happened to her good friend. Her request? “What can I tell her, how can I help her?”

I went into action, looking up resources, texting or calling friends who had experience in this particular arena, and sent the information as soon as possible.

Thankfully, I happened to have a scheduled neighbor visit that same morning. As I spoke with this neighbor, I suddenly remembered that she had some experience in this tragic aremotherhood-300x200na. Come to find out she had been involved in hotlines and other crisis management for just this problem. After asking for any advice, I was floored by the very simple but spot-on counsel she gave.

“Listen.”

That was the first, last and in-between best advice. She followed up that sure, resources are wonderful, but not until the person is ready. And not until the person feels heard.

Quickly, I texted my friend in time to be helpful. But I’ve thought of that advice all weekend. How often am I, are we, truly listening to other people? Life is busy and time is precious. Listening to others, especially if the subject matter isn’t that interesting or pressing, can be a difficult thing (think EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of the zoo field trip, going on 45 minutes—the details, not the trip…)

Listening is an incredible gift. It’s free, it’s doable, it’s in infinite supply if we choose it. And for the recipient, it may just be the lifeline they need.

One of my favorite speakers, authors, and human beings was Leo Buscaglia who shared this thought. “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

For a spouse, a friend, a teenager, and most especially the annoying person who doesn’t seem to understand that people have more to do than sit still and, what, actually look into someone’s eyeballs for 10 minutes, carve the space for listening.

That said, you don’t have to sit forever—your child does need to be picked up from dance. However, you can listen for the time you do have, let that person know you appreciate their sharing and that it’s been meaningful, and that you will keep a prayer in your heart for them. Then move forward to what is required of you, but knowing you’ve given that gift. Because you took the time to truly see and hear another human being, I’m betting you will feel more joy, peace, and fulfillment in whatever needs you next.

I’m grateful my good friend trusted me with this request for help. Since then, I’ve looked into my toddler’s eyes more often and listened more acutely to his imagination stories and monster truck explanations. I’ve watched for signs that my spouse needs a love or my teenager needs me to stroke her hair. And I’ve listened to my own body and soul more clearly, allowing myself to nap when needed and go to Zumba when it calls to me.

Just for today, listen a little longer, a little more closely, a little bit more purposefully. And enjoy the soul-fill that comes with it.

Hugs,

Connie

Studio 5 – Find the Courage to Be Yourself!

img_0681Did you miss Connie’s segment “Courage to Be Yourself” yesterday on Studio 5? If you did, watch it here and learn strategies on how to be your BEST self!

LIFE-IS-TOO-SHORT-Front-Cover-with-light-brown-hair

Plus this is the last week to get Connie’s The Life is Too Short Collection gift book on sale! The perfect handbook for being a woman, wife and mother, it’s kitchen table wisdom with a side of humor. Enjoy this popular collection for yourself or as a gift for a loved one to regain the humor and feel the help of friendly “been there” wisdom! On Sale ebook $4.99 (reg. $12.99); print $9.99 (reg. $14.95).

 

 

Got Courage to Be Yourself?

img_0681With recent national interest in what I do, it’s given me pause to wonder, Am I ready for this? As I thought more on that question (bad idea), I found myself gravitating to not only the cookie jar but to thoughts like, Do I need to change my speaking style, have less humor, more statistics? Or possibly rework my wardrobe? Or change my idioms, my energy level, or even my hair color? Reason intruded and begged a moment’s time—if it’s been working so far, why overhaul it? But the other Shoulder non-Angel would have to retort—yes, but you need to notch it up to play in the Big Leagues now.

What to do.

I embarked on my next speaking assignment with slight trepidation, but holding faith in what I knew to be genuine. I brought my trusty non-national looking Acer that held my Powerpoint and wore my burgundy speaking dress purchased in my local community, and kept the same hair color and style (because I knew it would last through the day). Even though this crowd was much older and perhaps wouldn’t appreciate my younger style, I decided to let the chips fall where they may.

img_0682In short, I chose to have courage to be myself.

And can you believe, they responded incredibly? I was overwhelmed by not only how
enthusiastically they enjoyed my presentation, but how immediately (as in, I hadn’t even gotten out of the conference room) they surrounded my book signing table to purchase, shared their excitement to set goals and boundaries, and showed their rejuvenated mojo on all fronts!

What personal lesson did I learn? That the courage is within is. It waits, it nudges, and sometimes it all out roars. But it is already there. And all we need to do is CHOOSE it.

This week I’ll be sharing more on my Studio 5 segment about this courage, and key ways to summon it. Join me on live Thursday at 11 a.m. on Channel 5 (or thereafter on my website) as we explore how to be our bold, courageous selves in any situation!

Best,
Connie

The Power of Partnered Prayers & People to Achieve Dreams

img_0515 At the beginning of summer I had the overzealous idea to productively use the early morning hours when my children were out cold. It made sense. Two hours of quiet time to get A TON DONE. Perfect.
Ever had those kinds of thoughts?
I prayed to know what should be my focus, made a list of projects and goals, and thought to myself, Bring it on. However, a short while later I got a distinct feeling-thought that I should, instead, “Rest.”
What? Rest is for wimps. Rest is for later. Rest is, to quote Princess Bride, “that dweam within a dweam” that is really just a fallacy told to mothers that will happen in the next life when in fact, we all know, it will be a gazillion times busier.
But in a surprising move, I listened to that distinct feeling-thought, which—as is the process—brought a further feeling-thought: that I would be helped in the fall. That wimg_0511as startling, and intriguing. But what did that mean and what would it look like? A week or so later I received a call from a man who shared about an intern program that I could apply for and with approval have interns helping me with my Back to Basics projects in the fall.
So I typed the proposal, submitted it, and was approved. And I left the projects alone all summer while I spent my summer mornings raising my head, protesting vaguely I should be productive, then cuddling my warm toasty body toddler (we won’t detail the go-go of when everyone awoke).
Now it is fall. And I have a fabulous, savvy, good-hearted team of interns from the Marriott Business School working on my projects. And partnered people who, instead of just fulfilling a class, are committed to the content and vision of Back to Basics.
I pinch myself daily.
I know for a surety the power of Partnered Prayers and Partnered People. Though I rested my body, I did spend summer praying for, envisioning, and detailing what those partners might look like. And one by one our good God above has sent them.
My point today? Stop doing it alone. Stop carrying the world/burden/challenge/pursuit by yourself and open to help unseen, and as yet possibly unknown. As you shift your thinking from “I need to do,” to, “Who can help make this better,” suddenly you open a plethora of doors and a path of joyful experiences.
Of course there will be organizing, learning, and re-configuring. I welcome the experience. Because, including others, I now have a total of 12 amazing, cream-of-the-crop men and women who believe in what we’re doing and want to see it change people’s lives. Whatever the outcome, already the way this process—partnering with Him, partnering with them—shows me that at the very least we all individually and collectively will be changed for the better.
This week, consider one way you can open yourself to more synergy, collaboration, or a one-time ask for help. Reach out, ask for what or who you need. Each and every effort to positively involve others will most definitely, most joyfully, make a difference.
Hugs,
Connie

The Power of Partnered Prayers & People to Achieve Dreams

img_0515 At the beginning of summer I had the overzealous idea to productively use the early morning hours when my children were out cold. It made sense. Two hours of quiet time to get A TON DONE. Perfect.

Ever had those kinds of thoughts?

I prayed to know what should be my focus, made a list of projects and goals, and thought to myself, Bring it on. However, a short while later I got a distinct feeling-thought that I should, instead, “Rest.”

What? Rest is for wimps. Rest is for later. Rest is, to quote Princess Bride, “that dweam within a dweam” that is really just a fallacy told to mothers that will happen in the next life when in fact, we all know, it will be a gazillion times busier.

But in a surprising move, I listened to that distinct feeling-thought, which—as is the process—brought a further feeling-thought: that I would be helped in the fall. That wimg_0511as startling, and intriguing. But what did that mean and what would it look like? A week or so later I received a call from a man who shared about an intern program that I could apply for and with approval have interns helping me with my Back to Basics projects in the fall.

So I typed the proposal, submitted it, and was approved. And I left the projects alone all summer while I spent my summer mornings raising my head, protesting vaguely I should be productive, then cuddling my warm toasty body toddler (we won’t detail the go-go of when everyone awoke).

Now it is fall. And I have a fabulous, savvy, good-hearted team of interns from the Marriott Business School working on my projects. And partnered people who, instead of just fulfilling a class, are committed to the content and vision of Back to Basics.

I pinch myself daily.

I know for a surety the power of Partnered Prayers and Partnered People. Though I rested my body, I did spend summer praying for, envisioning, and detailing what those partners might look like. And one by one our good God above has sent them.

My point today? Stop doing it alone. Stop carrying the world/burden/challenge/pursuit by yourself and open to help unseen, and as yet possibly unknown. As you shift your thinking from “I need to do,” to, “Who can help make this better,” suddenly you open a plethora of doors and a path of joyful experiences.

Of course there will be organizing, learning, and re-configuring. I welcome the experience. Because, including others, I now have a total of 12 amazing, cream-of-the-crop men and women who believe in what we’re doing and want to see it change people’s lives. Whatever the outcome, already the way this process—partnering with Him, partnering with them—shows me that at the very least we all individually and collectively will be changed for the better.

This week, consider one way you can open yourself to more synergy, collaboration, or a one-time ask for help. Reach out, ask for what or who you need. Each and every effort to positively involve others will most definitely, most joyfully, make a difference.

Hugs,

Connie

Ready to Get Unstuck?Join me for a special FREE class!

Ready to Get Unstuck?

chat-night-logoJoin me for a special FREE class, the first in a 3-Part class series! This time learn what stops you and 3 keys to simply, doably, and enjoyably move forward. SPACE LIMITED—it’s free but you must pre-register below (and be entered to win Connie’s Goodie Book Basket!)

Learning together and creating support. That’s what Back to Basics (B2B) Chat Nights are all about.

Her is what Women are saying about B2B:  

  • Misti R: I’m doing great. Exercising at least 4 times a week and really working on making healthy meals for my family. I keep setting my goals the way you taught me. The B2B system is great, especially the part about rewarding ourselves. So far I’ve lost another 6 ½ inches and 5 pounds. Thanks for being so fabulous.
  • Diana J: The success I’ve had is due to setting reachable goals and being able to bend when needed. I’ve found that life gets in the way of reaching our goals. Thanks to your encouragement I have learned that if we just learn to work through or around it, we will get there.

“Wait, what’s a B2B Chat Night?”

It began when the library director, Pam Jackson, and I were chatting over breakfast. Both of us have felt strongly about gathering women in their local communities, in safe and learning places, free to all, and creating face-to-face connections as we learn and support each other.

And that’s how B2B Chat Nights started!

I’m truly giddy to start this series at our local library! With this concept, I am offering a one-hour FREE class for EVERY WOMAN from ANY CITY who wants to join us for a positive, useful, solution-filleddiscussion about various life issues.

That’s right, the key to this class is DISCUSSION. I’ll share a brief video segment, and possible solutions. Then as a group we’ll discuss what keeps women stuck and which solutions could potentially work for us. Leave the class with proven yet simple ways to move forward in what matters most to you.

Join me Thursday, September 15, 7-8 p.m. at Spanish Fork Library

Address: 49 S Main St, Spanish Fork, UT 84660
Phone:(801) 804-4480
Hours: 10AM–8PM (M-Th) 10AM–6PM (F-Sat)

Pre-register by calling/sign up at the library or use the Contact Us button to register right here.  Simply fill out the “E-mail Connie” form and enter names and number attending in the message area.

SPACE IS TRULY LIMITED so if you’re interested, sign up today.

Pre-register by Wednesday and you’re entered to win Connie’s Goodie Book Basket! A collection of four of Connie’s books in print including a Life Planner.  

We’re excited to see you there, to learn, connect, and move forward in our lives!

Hugs,

Connie