Posts Tagged ‘starting over at 40’

The Rich Tapestry of Every Life

July 11, 2013

There are messages woven into the circumstances of each individual life. It is left to us to discover them, unravel their meaning, and find the blessing within.

I met an amazing little girl. Even at five years old, she was wise beyond her years and able to carry on a conversation as if she were an adult. She was, however, holding a crushing loss on her heart. She felt lost in a world without a mother. By the time she was seven, we were buddies and spent our time together playing a question game. We took turns coming up with queries to answer. At first we learned each other’s favorite colors and ice cream flavors. Over time, our questions became much more creative and the answer much more creative and the answers were more insightful as to our deeper thoughts on life. Her feelings of loss and wishing she had her mother would work into so many of her answers. I loved her, but no love can replace that of a mother. At least I could listen.

As she grew up, new answers would emerge. Her answer to “Who would you most like to have dinner with/” changed from Jesus to to her latest pop star; things like that. But longing for the mother she lost was central to many of her answers.

Then one day came the repeated question we had answered so many times before, “If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?” In the past, her mom would not have died. But now, the 14 year old, long deprived of her mother answered, “You know, I used to wish that mom had never died, and, of course, I would have loved to have a mother. But now I see that I wouldn’t change it, because if everything would have been different, I think that I would not be as strong as I am.”

That is a true story. As she was able to find the blessing inside her story, her life completely changed from being a victim of circumstance to being a powerful, young women in charge of her life and her happiness. She put herself through 5 years of college and is now a middle school math teacher.

______________________________________________________________Dina Dove

As an author, inspirational speaker, and coach, I am dedicated to helping people remember who they really are at their deepest core and discover their unique path to career and personal fulfillment.

For further information, please contact me at



I Need an Expert

July 10, 2013

Do you ever find yourself saying that?  Feeling inadequate seems to be a part of life for most of us. But truly, our thoughts betray us.

That’s one reason I wrote my first book, The Baglady’s Guide to Elegant Living.  In it, a little old lady helps a young woman find “the expert within”. Ever since then, readers longingly tell me that they want a ‘Baglady’ of their own… Someone to love them through the process.

You may need a guide to aid you in finding your internal ‘expert.’ It needs to be someone who specifically leads you back to yourself, NOT someone to be it for you!

Don’t worry that you feel inadequate now. It took me a long time looking outside before I finally learned to go within.  So, don’t feel alone in your thoughts.  Our whole lives we have been taught to refer to experts outside, so it takes some time to learn to trust your own instincts and inner guidance.

Just determine to uncover the ‘expert’ that is you! It is a totally transforming experience.

Follow your own heart. It will never lead you astray.

______________________________________________________________Dina Dove

As an author, inspirational speaker, and coach, I am dedicated to helping people remember who they really are at their deepest core and discover their unique path to career and personal fulfillment.

For further information, please contact me at


Simple Instructions for Living a Happy Life

April 6, 2013

  1. Get a Sharpee
  2. Draw a big circle around your heart
  3. Anytime there is a decision to make, check inside the circle.
  4. Listen your heart
  5. Do what makes your heart sing.

Easier said than done? Oh, yes! Living a life of joy is not for the weak of heart.

You must abandon all wish for security and predictability.

They will be replaced with wonder and with awe.

I promise!

The Symbols In Everyday Life

January 31, 2010

Have you ever thought of how much memories play a part in your reactions to things you encounter in daily life?

It’s winter here in Kansas and there are red coats all over the place. To me, a red coat is so much more than a coat. To me, every red coat is a symbol of how much my dad loves me.

You see, my dad supported our family of seven on a butcher’s salary. I was the oldest child and there was no money to pay for higher education. The year before I went away to school, I saved enough to pay for my first year college. I’d also been buying most of my own clothes since I’d gotten my first job when I was 14.

During the early fall, I came home one weekend and went shopping for a coat. I found the most wonderful red wool parka, but it was $25, a huge sum for me at that time. When I got home from the mall, I couldn’t stop talking about it. At some point in the conversation mom said, “Why don’t you go over to your dad’s store and see if he will buy it for you?”

This was so out of the ordinary. We got $2.00 a week for lunch money all thru high school. Other than that, we worked and paid for our own things. But on that day, my dad pulled out his billfold and handed me $25.00.

It was very special and to this day, I see dad in every red coat I pass.

And did you know that no matter how bad you may look on a particular day, a little lipstick will make a big difference?

Mom and I were doing a big construction project and decided to go over to the cafe to grab lunch. We had paint splatters all over us and I thought nothing would improve the way we looked. Regardless of that, mom insisted on putting on her lipstick. I was laughing and telling her it would be a futile gesture.

I didn’t pay attention until we were sitting across the table from each other and then the joke was on me.

Lipstick really does make a difference.

Even when you’re having a really bad day,  put on lipstick, it’s worth the effort. Every time I put on lipstick I think of mom.

By now you are wondering how on earth the word “plethora” ties in with this article. Anytime I see that word I think of Jennifer Brubaker. It’s one of her favorite words. The other day I saw it on a banner for, of all things, Monster Energy Drinks. Forget about the banner, all I could think of was Jennifer, even though we haven’t spoken in over a year. I picked up my cell phone and called her right then and there, all because of a word.

Red coats, lipstick and plethora…. They’re just a few reminders of love, humor, family and friendship.

Look around you.
Be aware.
There are symbols of love everywhere.

I Win. You Lose. Bah-Humbug!

January 3, 2010

I’m spoiled! I can’t work like that anymore.  I’ve seen the light.

My transformation took place in the space of a 3 hour game of “Cash Flow”.

That’s right, a game about amassing money. 

For what I gained you would think that I had attended a revival.

It was a spiritual experience for me. I still get goose bumps when I think of it.

“Cash flow” is a game where the object is to develop enough passive income to get out of the rat race.

In fact, the game piece you move around the board is a rat.  Mine was the red rat.

You move around the board kind of like Monopoly. If you don’t have enough money to do the deal on the card to pull, you can try to bargain with the other players to sell them the deal.

It was close to the end of the game and I pulled a great card, only I did not have enough money to do the deal. The guy to my right had the money, and, if he got hold of my card, he would get way ahead of me in the game. However, didn’t want to pay my price, so I was going to let the card go to waste.

Just then, the facilitator came to our table, looked at my great card, and said the words that would change the way I saw life and business forever.

Mark said, “Dina, you are seeing this all wrong. Look around the table. How can you structure a deal with all the players to where you all can get out of the rat race at the same time?” That statement opened up a whole new way of seeing the world to me.

Then he proceeded to show us how, by all chipping in a certain amount of money, every player at the table could participate in the deal that would catapult all of us into the winners circle at that very moment.

The game was a microcosm of the macrocosm that is our collective life. We’re all on this planet together. There is a way for all of us to ‘chip in’ our time, our talents, and our money to make anything we desire a reality.

All we have to do is stop looking at life as….. “If I win you lose or if you win I lose.”

Instead, we can look at the big picture, look at the skills and resources that are needed, and bring a group together that can meet the shared goal by each contributing their passion to the project. 

When we can do that, we all win together. And that is ‘The Game of Life’ played out in a way that would make every day feel like Christmas and… maybe even bring a little bit of heaven to earth.

A Smile, a Kind Word and a French Fry

December 21, 2009

Most kids and most parents seem to think that working for McDonalds is not a very worthwhile first job. But I contend that you can learn everything about life and businesses in a stint in the fast food industry.

When I went to work for Sandy’s Drive In (It was later bought out by Hardee’s), the organization proceeded to train us on everything from how to greet a customer to how many French fries to put in a bag.

Being your typical ‘know it all’ kid, I was not impressed with what I referred to as the ‘propaganda training films.’

I was especially put off by the one that explained the huge impact of putting one extra fry in a sack. The film proceeded to explain that the waste of one French fry amounted to a bag of fries within a  few short minutes. In the course of a lunch rush it could easily amount to a loss of revenue from 5-6 bags of fries. Multiply that over all the Sandy’s in town and it is a case of fries a day. Multiply that times the hundred stores in the chain over a year’s period and it could easily amount to a hotel full of lost revenue over a year.

“1 French fry?  Be real!” I thought.

And the joke was on me.

Later on I came to be a business owner and found that “The French Fry Theory”, as I later came to call it, was the purest form of truth there ever was. And, it applies to everything from paper towels to attitude adjustment.

Though few of us ever consider it, every little thing makes a difference. One French fry can alter the profits of a whole company. What we waste in America is likely enough to feed the rest of the world.

Take the idea further and consider that something as simple as a helping hand received and passed on from one neighbor to another can chance a city. A smile could light up the lives of countless others. It’s the small things that make a big difference.

So, what is in a smile, a kind word and a French fry?

Each one holds the power to change the world.

A Bad Week for Vanity

December 10, 2009

After attending a high school reunion later in her life, Erma Bombeck commented on the experience.

“I couldn’t possibly have gone to school with all these old people.”

And I sure can identify with her sentiment. This week I have seen a backlash of my own personal vanity on several occasions.

The first thing that happened was that I found a recent photo of my ex-husband. We divorced 16 years ago and I have not seen him in that length of time. 

I was just shocked. He looked like he could have been my grandfather. I just had to show someone, so I called up a business associate of mine to see what he thought.

Looking up the photo, I asked him if he thought Rob looked older than me. Pleased, when he answered “yes”, my second question was, “Yes, but by how much?”

Jerry answered, “Oh, at least 4 years.”

“4 years?” I screeched. “4 years? You gotta be kidding. He looks like my grandpa!”

I should have known not to ask Jerry.  He is 20 years younger than me and a great guy. I think of him as a business associate and he thinks of me as a mother figure.

What on earth was I thinking asking him?

Okay. So my family comes for Thanksgiving. I show the photo to my mom and she says he looks very happy and “about right for his age.”  She added that I look nice too.

The next day Janine, my sister-in-law, her teenage daughter and I go to Sandstone Gardens for lunch.  (Janine is only 5 years younger than me.) When we went up to pay, the waitress asked us if we were three generations together for the holiday.  I’m sure the look of surprise/horror on my face made her worry about the tip even before we told her we were sister-in-laws and Malory was my niece.

I have to give the waitress credit for quick thinking, though. Her explanation was that I seemed to be catering to Janine’s wishes by ordering salad so she could have it. “Something a mother would do,” she said.

We laughed and told her it was a good save in a tricky situation.

Needless to say, my vision of myself as eternally young has had a trying week.

As disconcerting as it may be, my whole family, including me, found a great deal of humor in it.

Proving, once again, that there is almost nothing so serious that you can’t get a laugh out of it somewhere.

Real Diversity

December 3, 2009

Diversity isn’t just about race, religion and sex.

Each one of us is ‘diverse’ from all the others of us.

I contend that we are all so conscious of being politically correct that our personal diversity is going underground.

Why are people so afraid of expressing themselves openly?

Embracing each person as the unique individual that they are is exciting and dynamic. That’s where we can experience ‘real diversity.’

The problem is that we hide our unique personalities in an effort to fit in with the crowd.


I love it when I’m in a situation where I can let the real me, the whole of who I am, run free. I’m equally delighted when the others do the same.

It’s so refreshing; probably because it is so rare.

Several years ago, in the wee hours of the morning, a group of us decided to go out for breakfast.

We stopped into a 24-hour, greasy spoon café. My brother Bobby is quite a character. A ‘good ole boy’, he is a ‘real’ person and will start a conversation with anyone. His personality reminds you of Earl. (The one that was known for saying, “You know what I mean, Vern?”)

Anyway, as the waitress approached our table Bobby said, “Hi Hon, what’s your name?”
She was in no mood to visit and answered him with a curt, “Puddin Tain.”

Our eyes just about popped out of our heads. We sat there dumbfounded, being catapulted back to childhood when we used to taunt each other with that very phrase.

(“What’s your name?” “Puddin Tain. Ask me again and I’ll tell you the same!”)

It didn’t matter that the lady had snubbed him. No one was mad. She had just shown us a unique piece of herself and reminded us of our own.

We have laughed about that for over 20 years now and recently recounted it on our family video.

The expression of our individual diversity counts for the great stories in our lives. It sets us apart and brings us together as we enjoy the uniqueness of each and every individual regardless of their race, creed, religion, and the color of their tee shirt or the neighborhood they grew up in.

The fact that we all see things a little bit differently is a thing to be applauded. It keeps us on our toes.

Just think, had that woman simply told us her name and taken our order, we would have no memory of the evening. But instead, she stepped out and made it all real.

We did not take offence but instead celebrated her creativity in controlling what she thought to be the

All this to say that, when you try to fit in by being what you think will make everyone happy, you miss yourself and…… you miss the other person too

Experience the joy of ‘real diversity.’ You might be both surprised and enlightened by the experience.

After all, it’s the stuff memories are made of.

“No wonder I’m still single. I live in a convent.”

October 31, 2009

I was joking with a friend the other day and said that to her in conversation.

However, it is true. I’ve been divorced for 16 years and have no good prospects. Considering that, isn’t it interesting that my house used to be the home of the nuns who taught at the Catholic school here in town.

If you have been following my work, you know that I believe we play a huge part in our circumstances. Whether we are conscious of it or not, the universe is responding to us. So, that thought can lead to all kinds of fascinating introspection.

Recently it has been about my house; why I bought one this big and why I don’t seem to be able to sell it. See, I think God has an amazing sense of humor and I have a lot of fun watching him interact in my life. I think he is getting a big kick out of me and my house thoughts right now.

Of course, when I bought this house, I certainly wasn’t thinking about its past inhabitants. (In-habit –ants.)

 Ha Ha…. Even that is funny.

Of my own free will, I bought it about 5 years ago. It was my hide away as I wrote “The Baglady’s Guide to Elegant Living.” I could see the purpose in being alone then. I needed focus. Indeed, I have an ‘elegant life’ in this big old Victorian. And since I live in a very small town, I do have the solitude of a nun when I am home.

The parish priest lives next door and the church is next to the rectory. With Father Chris and I being the only people living on our block, it’s practically holy! I’m counting Father and the church as holy. I added the ‘practically’ to allow for me in the mix.

But, you know what?

I’m happy.

In fact, I’ve been single so long now that I almost can’t imagine sharing my space with another person full time. Oh there were years when I longed for a life partner. I had some long relationships that all ended with me spending months pining over the loss.

But that is all ancient history now. Now I am at peace and truly satisfied with the life I have. There is an upside to being alone. Most people are so busy fretting over ‘being alone’ that they don’t see it.

What it is… is an amazing sense of being able to be led, to listen to the quiet voice that can so easily remain unheard.

It gives one the freedom to, on a whim, call someone that just pops into mind or to stop everything and go to the aid of a friend in need without worrying if I’ll be upsetting the apple cart at home.

I find great joys in the closer relationship with my best friend and Lord. I’m not Catholic, but I think I more fully understand the devotion that nuns must feel. I used to see their lives as a sacrifice but this life I have is a joy.

 And like many nuns, I live in a beautiful home and love God with all my heart.

You never can tell.

Someday my home might sell.

A knight in shining armor might sweep me off my feet.

In the meantime, here I am, following my heart wherever it leads me.

 And… I know it leads me home.

Who Will You Be Today, Your Authentic Self or …?

September 26, 2009

I’ve long considered writing a book about all the personalities we employ as we go about the days and years of our lives.  Of course, there is the daughter, the employee, the mom and the wife, but there are also more complex versions of all of us that we employ based on the circumstance and our frame of mind at the time. Some show us who we want to be more of and others give us a view into our… well… let’s call it our “self improvement needed” side.

We all lose our way from time to time and, believe me, I am no exception. I’ve recently had an extended encounter with my ‘Over Accommodating’ personality. As many of you know, I speak for a good number of women’s groups around the country.  The churches and organizations who host me can get a very good idea of the subject matter of my talks by first reading The Baglady’s Guide to Elegant Living. In the book I talk about finding your authentic self and living from that place.

I’m so thankful for the overall freedom that my hosts afford me. We discuss in advance what part of my message will be of most interest to the attendees. I do make notes to speak from and then, once on stage, I let spirit lead me. It is my intent to entertain and, hopefully, impart a bit or two of wisdom to the audiences.

Starting in April, as I prepared to work with a new group, it was requested that I put in writing what I would say, and, trying to be accommodating, I did that. They had other requirements of what I needed to include and so I added and rearranged. We were working back and forth for quite some time and I was beginning to be concerned that in order to meet the restrictions I would either have to memorize or read my talk. That is certainly different than my normal presentation method, but I wanted to be cooperative.

It all kind of snuck up on me, but looking back on it now, I see that I started dragging my feet. Not on just that presentation, but on my work in general. Something just didn’t feel right and I found myself doing everything I could think of to avoid my work.  I’ve been walking around feeling guilty about doing nothing productive, but I just haven’t been able to make myself do much of anything for a couple of months now.

It was only last night that I finally got it, I’d lost my way. I’d forgotten who I was. I’d been so busy trying to be what someone else needed me to be that I forgot who I was. And so it was like I was wandering aimlessly in the desert with no water in sight.  The ‘Over Accommodating’ personality had descended upon me like a thief in the night. Little by little, I had tried to make myself fit into someone else’s truth, and had lost track of myself.

A round peg doesn’t fit into a square hole, but we can sure wear ourselves out trying. And often, as in my case, blindly so. Discovering my true, authentic self, and continuing to live from that place, is my real work.  And whenever I forget, my step will be a little less lively. Inspiration will wane.

Last night, after a barely perceptible four month slide away from my true self, I finally realized that I just couldn’t do it. In my effort to be cooperative, I had abandoned ‘me’. Neither party was at fault. We simply were not compatible.

All it took was remembering my true self and recognizing that I was out of alignment. Once able to see the problem, I got back on the right track. And immediately things changed.  Today my life is once again filled with light. I’m able to work and inspiration has returned.