facebook icon

Writing a Book about Women and Wine: Molly’s Story

Published on 05/15/2017

After a long career in Human Resources, Molly found the voice she’d quieted in her youth and began to write. Her book, Blush: Women & Wine, explores how so many of us turn to wine to soothe our discomfort and avoid painful feelings.

Tell us a little about your background.

I am a Pacific Northwest girl. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, I was the youngest of four by a long shot. My siblings are 8, 12, and 13 years older than me. My mom tried hard to convince me that I wasn’t an “oops” baby. But seriously? My parents were wonderful, loving people with busy lives of their own. My dad was patriarchal and protective, and my mom the consummate “homemaker” with a college degree in a major of the same name to prove it. Like many in their generation, good parenting meant keeping me fed, clean, and clothed. Understanding me and my needs as a little human being wasn’t really on their radar screen. As a result, my growing up years were an interesting blend of love and loneliness. There was no doubt that they loved me, and it was doubtful that they really knew who I was.

Youngest of four

From the get-go, I loved the learning that came along with school. The social part? Not so much. Tall, shy, and awkward, fitting in felt beyond impossible. From my first day in kindergarten to the day I walked across the stage to receive my college diploma, I never really felt like I fit. Books and studying became my refuge. A voracious reader from an early age, my favorite Christmas present was a new book, and at school, I was always on the hunt for a secluded, quiet place to study. While I might not have found my fit in the social order, one thing I did understand from an early age was that I had a brain for, and a love of, learning. Academic challenges (unless they had to do with numbers, spreadsheets, or drawing) fueled my inner fire.

The thought of pursuing an academic career began to take shape my junior year in college. A favorite professor encouraged me in that direction, and to show his confidence in me, asked me to teach a class in his absence. I was over the moon at his request and raced back to my dorm room to call my dad and share my good news. After hearing what I had to say about teaching the upcoming class, the phone stayed silent for Way. Too. Long. When he finally spoke, he said, “Molly, you need to be careful not to appear too smart, so that you don’t intimidate the boys in the class.” His words took my breath away, literally. I didn’t know what to say, and so said nothing. Hanging up the phone, I still remember thinking. “I may not be the most beautiful girl on campus or even remotely popular, but one thing I do know is that I am smart, and if I can’t be that, what can I be?”

With my Dad during my college years

The next call was to my beloved professor to tell him that I was sorry. I wouldn’t be teaching that class after all. Those two phone calls sent me on a very long detour. I graduated magna cum laude, threw my diploma in a drawer, took a series of jobs that would pay the bills, and went on to marry the first undereducated guy who asked. I was married to him for 13 years that were marked by financial instability, anger, and emotional abuse. Finally finding the courage to leave was the beginning of the journey back to that quiet, intelligent girl on the other end of the phone. When I left my marriage, my two amazing daughters came with me. They were 3 and 7 at the time, and to this day they light up my life like no one else. The three of us would say those early years in our first family both broke us and made us.

With my girls when they were young

After five years as a single mom, during which the three of us worked to find our footing in the world, I almost accidentally answered a personals ad in the local professional paper. It was Friday evening, which in our little home meant that it was Movie Night in front of the fire eating pizza. As I crumpled up some newspaper to make the fire, I noticed a bold heading on one of the personal ads. It said, “Romantic Scientist”. An oxymoron if I’d ever heard one, and yet, I was intrigued. There was an authenticity to his words that prompted me to take a risk and answer his ad. I wrote a letter (pre-email days), stuck in a family photo, and drove it down to the post office at midnight so that I wouldn’t chicken out the next morning. Today I’ve been married to my romantic scientist for 23 years. He is a vulcanologist (studies volcanoes), and with him came two more terrific daughters, who are exactly the same ages as mine. Ours was a hormonal household from day one—think puberty and menopause. I think Tom used to wish for a volcano to erupt somewhere just to escape the molten hormones racing through our home. Answering that ad is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Thank God I didn’t burn him up in that Friday night fire.

The ad!!

We’re engaged!

Today all of our daughters are thriving. Three are married (great sons-in-law all) and we have two grandsons. What fun! Tom and I live in the tiny rural town of Glenwood, Washington, home to more cows than people. Nine years ago, we pulled up our city roots and bought five beautiful acres, nestled in the shadow of Mt. Adams. We put everything we owned in storage, lived in a 32 ft. Airstream trailer while we built the rustic home that began as a drawing on a napkin, one evening years earlier, over a glass of wine. It has become the gathering place for family and friends, and we love it here. Dorothy was right. There’s no place like home.

Building our home

The home we built

When Tom and I were first married, our girls were 8 and 12. I was in the midst of an almost 15-year career with Nordstrom. It had started as a job to pay the bills until I could find the real work that I wanted, but turned into a career that I enjoyed. It wasn’t my dream job, but then I’d never really had time to figure out what that was. Life was too full of taking care of the needs of two young daughters: food on the table, a roof over our heads, homework, soccer, and swim practice, friends, and family time. Thankfully, I found a good niche in Human Resources and Training.  Fairly intuitive and insightful where people are concerned, my work utilized those strengths. It also gave me a chance to delve into the teaching I had left behind all those years ago, and I found that I loved working with adult learners. Now that Tom and I had joined forces, we bought a large home to make room for all of us, and my financial contribution was needed more than ever. As a new family we were finding our footing once again, and albeit hectic and full, life was good.

Tom and I with all our girls, shortly after our wedding

When did you start to think about making a change in midlife?

About that same time, my “next act” shit began to hit my “this act” fan. While I enjoyed my work, it was quite consuming, and I craved more flexibility and time to spend with our daughters. My dearest friend Kristine Van Raden is an artist, and our two families went on a summer vacation at a remote retreat center. She was the artist in residence and was teaching a course on creativity, using Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity as a resource book. Knowing that anything resembling an art class terrifies me, she invited me to join the class in reading the book without having to also make the art. Because I trust her with my life, I decided to trust her in this too. As it turned out, reading that book meant taking my life into my own hands in ways I could never have imagined.

With Kristine

One of the practices in the book is the writing of something called Morning Pages: three pages of stream of consciousness writing immediately upon rolling out of bed in the morning. That’s it. Just write whatever comes to mind. At first, it felt like mindless gibberish about meaningless things. Until one day it didn’t. That particular morning the words, “I want to quit my job.” showed up on the page, followed by the desire to “write a book, speak publicly, and try my hand at corporate coaching.” None of which I’d done before. At first, the words were sort of quiet and interesting. Then they became a bit loud and unsettling. Finally, they became downright thunderous and demanding. As in, “I have to fucking quit my job. Now!”

If I ever doubted my choice of life partner, Tom’s response to my morning pages message erased any lingering uncertainty. When I told him that I wanted to quit my job and pursue some new avenues, he took a deep breath, actually several as he contemplated life without my current income, and said, “Mol, if that is what your heart is telling you to do…then do it, and we’ll figure it out.” It was, and we did.

As it turned out, Kristine’s morning pages also uncovered a desire to write a book. Because we love anything that gives us time together, we set off on a publishing adventure. Within a few months we had a contract with a publisher, and Letters to Our Daughters: Mother’s Words of Love was released in the spring of 1997. Upon learning about the book, Nordstrom launched a cross-country Mother’s Day book tour, bringing us in to speak and sign books. It was a blast. It doesn’t get better than your best friend and room service! The book, a collection of letters from women in diverse circumstances to their daughters, shines a light on the common threads that connect us all. Invitations to speak continued and as a result, we formed a partnership called Matters That Matter. Our work took us to venues including annual conventions, fundraisers, and world-class health spas, including continuing visits to Rancho La Puerta in Mexico. Featured on the Oprah Show, our book was translated into Chinese, Spanish, and German.

Book tour with Kristine

Along with publishing a book and public speaking, the marching orders from those morning pages were completed when I began a lasting relationship with Learning Point Group as a facilitator and coach in organizational and corporate settings. The words of my dad on that phone call all those years ago often come back to me as I go about my work as a facilitator and coach. The training rooms and boardrooms are often filled with men, some of whom just might be intimidated. Oh well.

Two years ago I launched Trailhead Coaching & Consulting. I have the privilege of helping others connect who they are with what they do and how they do it. Over the years, my work has given me ample opportunity to witness the sadness and exhaustion in the eyes of those living out of step with themselves. It took me time and hard work to find my own way back to myself and my work. Today I feel unbelievably blessed to be able to help others do the same. Much of my work with clients is done over the phone or via FaceTime. I get to sit at my desk, a cup of French press coffee nearby and a view of pines and the occasional elk out the window, all while wearing jeans and my favorite well-worn cowboy boots. Humble and grateful pretty much sums up how I feel about my work these days.

What is your next act?

Earlier I mentioned that I seem to have a pretty good intuitive sense. What I didn’t mention is that I also hear “the voice” now and then. Maybe not audible in the literal sense of the word, but, clearly enough that I’ve had to stop, turn around and ask out loud, “What??” Over the years that voice has led me to know that a daughter was in trouble and in need of support, prompted me to make game changing phone calls, and make course-altering choices. Most recently that same voice led me to take an honest look at my lifelong love affair with wine, which in turn led me to write a book about it. Blush: Women & Wine was released on February 14th of this year. Not a book about alcoholism or never drinking wine again, it is about awareness and not intervention and asks the reader to become curious about her own relationship with wine. I knew that for me there are two reasons to drink wine. One is to celebrate. The other is to check out. I have done plenty of both. 

Why did you choose this next act?  

In many ways, I didn’t choose this next act. It chose me. The experience that led to the writing of the book was honestly one of the most profound and quietly powerful things I’ve ever experienced. It all started with an evening walk by myself down our road, a regular practice for me. On this particular evening, the mountain was out in all her glory, the sun setting and the air filled with evening birdsong. Just as I came to a bend in the road I heard the voice clearly and slowly say, “Wine, Women and Song Sorrow.” along with an image of a book cover with the familiar word ‘song’ crossed out and replaced with the word ‘sorrow’. I stopped in my tracks and bent over, put my face in my hands and stayed that way for a long time. I knew that once I stood up, life could never be the same. Looking back, I am grateful the clarity of the voice, the image, and the meaning of it all. I knew in that moment that the word ‘song’ was a reference to our life. All of it. Our song is our most genuine, authentic self, and we are each born with it inside. Our job is to bring it to the world. Somehow the wine I drank every night had the potential to silence that music, leaving sorrow in its place.

I had been thinking about my own love affair with wine for some time, knowing that I often used it as a coping mechanism and way to avoid stress, pain, and discomfort. I had, however, been keeping my thoughts to myself, which was exactly how I wanted to keep it. I’ve been a wine drinker for almost as long as I can remember. I love everything about it. The taste. The ritual. The classy feeling of a lovely wine glass. However, I recognized the voice for the invitation it was: to bring my longtime relationship with wine out of my internal cellar, uncork the bottle, and understand the message inside. This all happened in an instant and at a bend in the road, which suggested that I had a choice to make and that my choice could lead in a new direction. We’ve all heard the phrase, “We’re not ready till we’re ready.” On that evening walk I knew I was ready, and although not without fear, I accepted the invitation. Blush: Women & Wine is the result.

With David Barry

How hard was it to take the plunge?

It took me several months to tell another soul about my evening walk “encounter.” Like I said, once I gave voice to it, I would have to do something about it. Which is why the first person I told was my good friend and fellow writer David Berry, author of A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change David writes and speaks about the power of our voice and how, situated midway between our head and our heart, it is what connects the two. In the midst of a catch-up phone call, my story just spilled out. He interrupted me and said “Molly. You have to write that now. Write it real. Write it raw. This is a subject that needs addressing and yours is the voice to do it.” Writing the book began when that phone call ended.

The only thing I knew to do was to start writing, and the only story I knew intimately was my own. I believe that we are all storytellers at heart and that it is through the stories of others that we best see ourselves. It had been scary for me to think about my own wine drinking habits, and it was even scarier to talk about. Talking about wine is trendy. Talking about drinking a little too much of it is not. My job as a coach is to create a safe space for my clients to engage in their own courageous thinking. I wanted this book to do the same thing. Could I write a book that would make it safe for women to look at the ways in which they use wine (or anything else for that matter) to hide from their own lives, the parts they’d rather not deal with? I had a hunch that I could and so decided to give it a go.

There were more than a few times that I tried to get out of writing it. It was hard. It was personal. It was scary. I rationalized that it might just be me. Would other women really relate to this topic?  It was just this question that I was mulling over, again, as I drove to an appointment. Tiring of my own thoughts, I turned on NPR just in time to hear the person being interviewed say “Women purchase 70% of the 800 million gallons of wine sold each year.” (Host Robin Young: “New Thinking On Women and Alcohol” Here And Now. January 20, 2014)

I kept writing.

The thing with women and wine as opposed to other forms of alcohol is that there is an air of sophistication to it. With a lovely glass of wine in our hands, we look so together, so successful, so classy. I began to think of all the examples of that image in our culture. Olivia Pope of ABC’s Scandal is never far from her glass of fine red wine. The exact glass, the “Camille” red wine glass, is often on back order from Crate and Barrel. The ten o’clock hour of the Today Show features Kathie Lee and Hoda Kobt with wine glasses instead of the usual coffee cups. At almost every women’s gathering I’ve ever been to, from book clubs to church meetings to soccer mom gatherings, wine is standard fare. “We should get together for wine sometime” is just part of our shared vocabulary. As I slowly shared my project with others, the response was almost always the same. First a long pause. Then a knowing look. Finally, a quiet comment that went something like, “You are talking about me. But I wouldn’t have had the courage to say anything if you hadn’t brought it up first.” It felt like a take on the subject that hadn’t been done, and the more I wrote, observed, and considered, the more I knew that it was a take that was needed. End of, and beginning of, story.

With friends

How supportive were your family and friends?

Beyond supportive. Tom championed me from beginning to end. He read and edited every draft, endured hours of dialogue about my experience writing it, and the discoveries I made along the way. He got up with me as early as 4 AM so that I could get in at least one hour of writing every day. And, he never, not once, not ever, gave me advice about how I should or should not drink wine. Thankfully, for me, it isn’t an addiction issue. I spent the last nine months of writing the book without drinking any wine (or very little other alcohol for that matter), trying to learn more about my relationship with wine by not drinking any. During that time, he continued to enjoy wine when he felt like it, which was also supportive in its own way. Our daughters loved the project and have been some of my greatest cheerleaders, as have other family and friends Thankfully no one said, “It’s about time.”


With Tom

What challenges did you encounter?

Finding my voice for the story that needed to be told was perhaps the biggest challenge, and it took time. Lots of time. From my evening walk to getting the final manuscript off for publication was about a three-year process. And BLUSH is a small book. In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says that we have to show up at our desk and be willing to write lots of “shitty first drafts.” I took her words to heart and just kept at it. It required a new kind of tenacity and discipline that I had to develop along the way.

First I had to figure out my own writing process, starting with figuring out the best time of day and where to write. I’ve learned that the best time for me to write is early in the day. If I am at my desk early, I often continue to write for hours. Whereas if I start later, the engine has a hard time getting started. I’m very visual, so a beautiful writing space matters, and I took the time to create a space that feels sacred.

Figuring out time and place was fairly easy. Understanding how to bring the right words to the page took longer. Daily as I settled in at the keyboard, I would get quiet and ask, “What do I have to say?” Words filled the pages, sentences were well structured, ideas were clearly articulated, and stories were well told. And yet, it didn’t feel right. One morning as I settled into my chair, a new question floated to the surface: “What wants to be heard?” With that question, the words began to flow in a new way and from a different place. It felt like a partnership with Inspiration, like I was dipping into a deeper well, and finding wisdom and insight larger than my own. Stories became richer, and words fell together more seamlessly. The thread that needed to run from beginning to end began to shimmer and weave the words forward.

At my desk

Another challenge was figuring out how to publish. The publishing world is so much different than it was twenty years ago, and I wasn’t sure which direction to go with this book. Writing it felt like the most important thing while getting it out into the world was secondary for a long time. But eventually, I had to address the issue. I knew I didn’t want to straight up self-publish, but I also didn’t want to stop writing to try and find an agent or re-kindle years old relationships in the traditional publishing world.

A friend suggested I attend The Willamette Writer’s Conference in Portland, OR where I could “pitch” my manuscript to potential agents and publishers. My first response was “Hell no!” which almost always means that the appropriate answer is “Hell yes”! After trying to get out of registering for the conference in every way I knew how, I threw caution to the wind and registered, scheduling three different pitch sessions. Think publisher speed dating. You enter a ballroom filled with small cocktail-sized tables, and sitting at each is an agent or publisher to whom you will pitch your book over a 12-minute period. A bell rings and the pitch session begins. At the next ring, you thank the person and exit to make room for the next group.

All three pitches got initial interest, and one stayed the course with me. I ended up collaborating with Wyatt-MacKenzie, a small indie publisher in Deadwood, Oregon. Along with offering traditional publishing, they have an imprint program that caught my attention. Basically, Nancy Cleary (founder and the genius behind Wyatt-MacKenzie) acted as my consultant, walking me through the entire publishing process, handling the nuts and bolts (ISBN, distribution channels, layout, and design, etc.), holding my hand, and providing PR and marketing guidance. Trailhead Coaching & Consulting is my imprint of Wyatt-MacKenzie. Working with Nancy has been nothing but positive, and as a result of working with her, I have a much deeper understanding of the publishing process. Thanks to Nancy’s unerring and exquisite eye for design, I have to say that I am crazy in love with the cover and overall look of BLUSH. It still takes my breath away.

Nancy Cleary

As I mentioned earlier, it is my hope that this book sparks not only self-reflection but also prompts women to begin a much-needed dialogue with one another. While our questions are our own to live, there is something powerful that happens when we choose to answer them together. Going it together helps us to know that we are not alone in our desire to make sense of things that matter. To that end, I’ve included a robust Readers Guide of questions for individual reflection and group conversation. It will make for a dynamic, thoughtful and fun read for book clubs everywhere. Most book clubs include wine. BLUSH is the perfect pairing!

As a writer friend along the way told me, writing the book is the easy part. Marketing and promoting it are the big challenges. I’ve certainly found that to be true. Whether anyone else ever read the book or not, I knew that I had to write it. Now that it is out in the world, I want to amplify its message as loudly and broadly as I can. That is where my efforts are now focused. How can I reach the audience that will connect with and be positively impacted by the message of the book? How can I get the book in front of those who have a much larger platform and louder microphone than mine? How can I amplify a message I know needs to be heard? Since every one of those questions is daunting and enough to keep me under the covers or looking for that extra glass of wine that I don’t need, I am choosing to take my own coaching advice. Small steps = Big shifts. I do at least one thing a day to amplify the message. Today it is this interview. Another day it will be entering BLUSH in an Indie Excellence Award contest. I’m currently working on a possible collaboration with a company that sells beautiful handblown wine drinkers. Once I committed to the “one thing a day” mantra, stuff started happening. New ideas are flowing and unexpected connections are popping up.


Were there times when you thought about giving up?  

Once I got over trying to get out of writing it, I don’t think I ever thought about giving up. That being said, the stuff of life often took precedence over writing. Daughters got married, grand babies were born, family heartaches and friends in pain were in need of love and support. At the heart of the book is the conviction and commitment to be present to life and for those I care about. Wine has, in the past, prevented me from being as present as I truly want to be. So, there were times that I chose to set the book aside and tend to what was before me, trusting that a force greater than me (like the Source of the voice on the road) would watch over and tend to it in my absence. Like wine aging in barrels, I have had to have faith that the book would continue to mature until I returned to it.


What did you learn about yourself through this process?

I rediscovered how much I love writing. Always have, always will. Everything about it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the shitty first drafts, the days when it feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the days when I can hardly keep up with the words racing to get onto the page. I intend to write until the end.

Because of the subject, I obviously learned so much about myself in relation to wine. It started as a private exploration that led to what I hope becomes a shared experience of discovery for other women who might love their wine a little too much. Terroir refers to the geology or makeup of the soil in which the grapes are grown, and the effect that soil has on the taste of the wine made from those grapes. I came to know the terroir of my own wine drinking habits and the soil in which my misuse of wine grows. Any type of emotional pain or discomfort can give root to my desire for a glass of wine, as can a particularly frustrating or stressful day. But I’ve come to know that pain, suffering, grief, hardship, and sadness are all part of what it means to be human. Each of those “dark emotions” has things to show me, to work in me, and to transform me. But only if I choose to experience them. Writing this book has helped me learn to better sit with and learn from the discomfort and pain when it shows up. Whatever it is, it is asking for my attention, and ignoring it today only guarantees running into it again tomorrow. I believe that another part of what it means to be human is the desire to avoid pain, discomfort, and those things that scare us. For some, it may not be through wine, but it is through something. It is what I avoid and hide from that keeps me bound up. I guess I’ve learned that in the long run, as painful and hard as it may be at the time, the truth really does set me free.

Sharing a meal with my girlfriends 

Looking back, is there anything you’d have done differently?

Hmm. Perhaps diving into creating a larger platform before the book came out. I’m not in love with social media and yet know that it is one important avenue, so I’m trying to make friends with it. My heart wants to be face to face with people. I love speaking and connecting with real people in a real room, whether through keynotes, retreats, or workshops. I’m putting energy into creating more of those opportunities. If I’d started sooner, I’d be further down that road.


What advice do you have for women seeking reinvention in midlife?

The trailhead for reinvention always lies squarely beneath our feet. Always. Now is the time. Here is the place. This is what we have to work with. Finding the next right step leading deeper into our own life, the messy, imperfect, sacred life that is ours, begins with a right understanding of where we are now. Listen to yourself and trust what you hear. What do you love? What calls to you? What are you curious about? What can you let go of that would make space for something more meaningful? More joyful?

In our Matters That Matter work, Kristine and I often take people through a reflective exercise that begins with the statement “If I had the courage I would………” We ask them to write as many responses as come up for them, without paying any attention to the inner critic that inevitably shows up. The exercise is always powerful, and when we take just one step in the direction illuminated by the answers to any of those questions, the next step will eventually make itself known. I’ve spent too much time and energy trying to live up to someone else’s expectations and ideas of what my life should look like. In other words, I’ve been singing someone else’s song. Not anymore. Our lives don’t happen by accident. We actively participate in creating them every day and one thought, one word, one step at a time.


What advice do you have for those interested writing a book? What resources do you recommend?

In her poem “Friend of Writing” (in her book Instructions for the Wishing Light), my friend the poet Ann Staley talks about the six rules of writing. “Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write.” Those rules are golden. Reading feeds writing. Two books that provided nourishment for my adventure were Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life and Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Make time to read books that feed your soul and fuel your interests. I start every morning with my French press and what I’ve come to call my “morning book”—something that feeds me. Over the course of writing BLUSH, books by Rachel Naomi Remen, Krista Tippett, Parker Palmer, Richard Rohr, Anne Lamott, Barbara Taylor-Brown and Nadia Bolz-Weber have been my companions, and I credit them for helping me keep on keeping on.

Start writing. Show up at the desk and create a practice of putting words on the page. Just do it. I’m not in a writing group but I think they are a great idea. If you can’t find one, start one.

Attend a writer’s workshop or retreat. Amy Ferris is an editor, screenwriter, playwright, and the author of Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling Blue and Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis (an absolute must read for any woman hovering in the mid-life airspace). Amy teaches a powerful workshop “Women Writing To Change The World”.  I haven’t personally attended one, but I’ve heard from those who have and know her to be an exquisite facilitator. A mensch.

Brooke Warner is another fantastic resource. Author of Green Light Your Book: How Writer’s Can Succeed In The New World of Publishing, Brooke’s experience, knowledge, and savvy about publishing are deep and wide. She is a co-founder of SheWritesPress, an independent hybrid press that offers authors the opportunity to publish professionally with a publisher that rigorously vets its projects. They allow the author creative collaboration but also adhere to strict industry standards and professionalism.

In addition, Brooke has her own coaching and consulting company, Warner Coaching, where she coaches writers to publication by helping them understand the pros and cons of the different publishing paths. By helping them understand the publishing landscape, her clients are able to choose the best coaching path available to them.

My bookshelf

Of course, I love Nancy Cleary and Wyatt-MacKenzie. Offering traditional publishing, and their comprehensive Imprint Program, a strong step up from traditional publishing. As it says on their website, Wyatt-MacKenzie is an award-winning, integrity-driven, independent press known for providing our authors with an unparalleled publishing experience. All I can say is “Amen!” to that!

Lela Davidson (author of Blacklisted from the PTA, Faking Balance: Adventures in Work and Life, and Who Peed on My Yoga Mat?) offers creative, practical support through Second Story Writer’s Workshop. As she says, it is for all writers, used-to-be writers, and wannabe writers. I love how she describes her approach: “All the writing support. None of the literary snobbery.”

Finally, essential for any reinvention is the art of self-care. Let me say that again. Reinvention requires self-care. A lot of us haven’t been too good at that. But, it’s never too late to start! What does it take for you to show up with as much of yourself available as possible? Whatever it is, do what it takes to provide it to yourself. We are all worthy of love, care, respect, and belonging. Extending it to ourselves is the place to start. 

The view from our home


Whats next for you?

I mentioned the word “amplify” before, and that is what I see for the days ahead as I find ways to spread the BLUSH message: Each and every one of us is here on the planet to touch the world that is within our reach for the good. None of us can do that when we are hiding from ourselves, and/or the parts of life that are uncomfortable. Full frontal living is the only way! Foundational to my work is the desire to help and support others in their own efforts to live their most authentic lives, to discover and use their gifts, strengths, and passions to make a difference in the world and to bring more joy, grace, peace, and meaning to their own lives. Speaking, leading retreats, and facilitating meaning-rich workshops rock my world, and my efforts now are going in that direction.

Being present for “my people’ will always matter, so any act will always make room for that. Over the years I have come to trust my intuition, my own voice, and that familiar “still small voice” that taps me on the shoulder (or hits me over the head with a wine bottle). If I keep my inner ears tuned, I trust that I will hear what I need, when I need it, and that the light will always shine on my next right step.


Contact Molly Davis at molly@trailheadcoachingandconsulting.com

Trailhead Coaching and Consulting

Matters That Matter



Instagram: mollydavis53 

HeleneTStelian Musing
I’m Hélène Stelian, the Midlife Mentor with a passion for facilitating personal development in women 40+. Through my THRIVE Courses, I help introspective, curious, action-oriented women 40+ deepen their journeys of self-discovery and growth—and create their next chapter with courage and intention.



I am happy to bring you valuable content and resources free of charge. In order to do this, please note that if you decide to make a purchase through my link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. Thank you!

Want to learn how to THRIVE in your next chapter?

Grab your FREE training and discover the 5 MUSTS to a joyful and fulfilling next chapter, along with EASY STEPS you can begin taking today to put these MUSTS into practice.


  1. Kristine Van Raden

    Stunning, courageous, authentic and filled with compassion. While those words describe Molly’s exquisite book, BLUSH…they also describe the person she is. Many have asked me if the book will “make them feel bad” about their wine consumption…truly, nothing is further from the truth. BLUSH is the means to turn “checking out” into the “celebration” that allows each of us to feel better about our choices and therefore about ourselves. There is no shame, no guilt, no reprimand. Instead you will find community, exploration and a better of understanding of what drains you and what fills you to the brim.

    • Molly

      My dearest you.
      All I can say is “Thanks, thanks and ever thanks”. I cannot now or never have nor never will be able to imagine life without you. Thank you for… everything.

  2. Roxanne Jones

    One of your best posts ever, Helene! A remarkable, inspiring story on so many levels. You — and Molly — had me at “women and wine.” Can’t wait to get my hands on the book!

    • Hélène

      Thanks Roxanne. I know, right? Women and wine resonates with so many of us! So appreciate you dropping by and reading.

    • Molly Davis

      Dear Roxanne! Thank you for reading and sharing your response. It was amazing wot work with Helene, and humbling to be included with so many other inspiring women. I hope you enjoy and connect with the message in BLUSH – and would love to hear about your experience reading it. Blessings!

  3. Corie Skolnick

    This is why Next Act for Women is one of my very favorite blogs. And I can’t stop thinking about Molly’s book. Truly, every time I pour a glass of wine I think about it. That, I suppose, is exactly why she wrote it. To give us pause for insight about a behavior that has become so automatic and “thought-less”. It’s a real gift.

    • Molly Davis

      Thank you Corie! Your words fill my heart and rock my soul! What an adventure this crazy life turns out to be… You are a gift!

  4. Amy Ferris

    Oh, Molly, you are filled with such beauty & magic.
    Thank you for your courageous & gracious heart.
    I love you.

    • Molly Davis

      Dearest Amy.
      Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Helene does an amazing job of asking one “beautiful question”, followed by another, until it all comes together in a beautiful piece. Bless you Amy – you are leading our charge in so many ways!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Am I a Klutz?

Am I a Klutz?

Somehow, I’ve ended up in the ER in most every city I’ve lived in. Not for anything serious, mind you. It’s a little...

Is Your World Out of Control?

Is Your World Out of Control?

I am a planner. I like to predict and anticipate every eventuality. I hate surprises. And I'm not just talking about...

Who Stole My Sign?

Who Stole My Sign?

We live in the city of Chicago, in a house on a quiet residential street. As such, we're responsible for maintaining...

Pin It on Pinterest