Welcome Friends!

I’m thrilled you’ve decided to visit the “Must Love Shoes” blog—our little corner of the world filled with articles created especially for you! I love sharing with my friends, but the real fun begins when the conversation flows!

Meaningful discussion involves an exchange of ideas. Is your story inspirational for women? Do you have advice for women that you’ve found helpful? Don’t be bashful! Add your comments to any of the articles below, because, after all ladies, this is our private place to share!

My Advice to Young Writers

Young authorsTonight I had the honor of speaking to a group of Frederick County students and their proud parents at “A Celebration of Writing, Storytelling, and Sharing,”  a County-Wide Young Author Celebration sponsored by the State of Maryland, the International Reading Association Council, and the Frederick County Reading Council. What a humbling experience to be before such an impressive and accomplished group of young people.  My comments were as follows:


I’ve always loved to read. I was that kid hiding under the covers with a flashlight past bedtime trying to finish the final chapter of my latest Nancy Drew book. I’ve always believed that a love of reading leads to a love of writing until eventually you realize you simply have a love affair with words. Both become a part of your soul and you just can’t imagine your life without them.

I didn’t  publish my first book until I was 52 and I’m currently working on my third book. The wonderful thing about writing is that it believes in equal opportunity. It doesn’t matter your age, race, culture, or gender. It’s available to us all. The only barrier exists in your mind.

I believe 3 things make you a writer:  Consistency.  Heart. Courage.

Consistency – Write every day. It can just be for 10 minutes if that’s all the time you have but write something every day. It builds discipline. It creates habit. Your brain and creative spirit are like any other muscle in your body and writing every day not only develops them but creates a desire to do more.

Some days I work on my book. Other days I write a blog post. Still other days I simply write a Facebook post about something that’s been on my mind that day. But most days I write in my “Best Part of Day”  book– my approach to Journaling.  I try to capture something positive, fun, or funny that I witnessed that day and record it. For added fun, I often write it like a headline in the newspaper to stimulate my creative thinking. Think of writing like eating – you wouldn’t think of skipping it for a day.  Eventually writing becomes like food for your soul.

Heart –  Write for yourself. Don’t write what you think your parents will like, or your teachers, or even your friends. Write about what’s in here, your heart. Write about what gets you excited. I call that finding your voice!

That’s exactly what I did when I wrote my first book. I wrote for me. I didn’t know if anyone would like it or buy it. I didn’t care. I wrote stories that made ME laugh….made ME cry.  Because of the positive feedback and success from that book, I wrote a second, but this time I felt pressure! What if people don’t like this one as much? What if they don’t think it’s as funny as the first?  I want to write this story but will they appreciate it? Would they rather hear about something else?  I started second guessing myself. I began writing from my head instead of my heart. And it took me a while to turn it around. Fortunately I did.  So always write for you..

Courage –  If you write in a way that is transparent and authentic, it takes courage to put it out there… to let others see who you really are and what you believe. The bottom line is that not everyone will love what you write. Some won’t be able to understand or relate to it. And that’s ok.

It’s been said that what most people fear is not failure, it’s judgment.

In all the years I’ve been writing, the hardest piece I’ve ever written was a blog post this past December. It was on the Tuesday after Christmas, known as Giving Tuesday. This day affords people a chance to make online donations to the nonprofit causes they believe in.

My husband has a disease called Parkinsons. We decided that day to go public with this information in hopes that people would help us raise funds and increase awareness.  I cried the entire time I wrote the blog post. When my husband read it, he did the same. And then I hit the SEND button and we both cried. It took great courage to write what was in our hearts that day but it felt liberating when it went out into the world.

My hope is that you will always be brave.

Three things…. Consistency, Heart, and Courage.

Keep them with you always.







Why Frederick Magazine Should Host the Academy Awards

OscarsI learned today that my blog won third place in Frederick Magazine’s Best of Frederick Awards.

This excites me tremendously because I don’t really think of myself as a blogger.

I relate more to speaker, author, consultant, gardener, Mom, time waster, expert napper. But not blogger.

So the fact that I got third place makes me so happy I could burst!

I credit Frederick Magazine for my UBER-excitement over this third place honor because they have figured out the psychology of how people think.

Unlike the way the Academy Awards program runs, I didn’t even consider I was in the running.

So I didn’t have to feel let down for not winning first.

[Read more…]

What I Did Right in 2014.

Soles of Love 4 profile picI am only hours away from my annual sojourn through my Memory Box, my hidden stash of memorabilia which accumulates during the year.

The sole purpose of my Memory Box is to help me capture the highlights of my year so I don’t spend the evening wishing–

–that I were more organized.

–or patient.

–or thinner.

–or any number of things I think about if I allow my mind to dwell in insecurity rather than accomplishment.

It’s human nature, I guess, to think about what’s wrong, instead of what’s right.  But before I let the box tell me what went right for me this year, I have a few thoughts of my own.

In spite of the fact that 2014 was one of the toughest years of my life, it was also one of the best. Here’s why! [Read more…]

The Only Reason You’ll Ever Need!

Must Love ShoesEvery woman I know puts everyone’s needs before her own. It’s in our DNA. We just can’t help it.

Every woman I know has a “wish list,” a “bucket list,” things they dream of doing…..


When the kids are grown.

When they have more money.

Or time.

Or energy.

I used to be that way.
[Read more…]

New Faces, New Friends: Parade of the Snow People

Must Love ShoesEvery year during the Christmas season a parade of Snow People take up temporary residence along Main Street of our little town.  This year, a sweet vintage girl graces my driveway and I have affectionately named here Vivienne.

In my vivid imagination, she assumes a personality and enjoys many exciting adventures while I’m away from home. Much like the ever-so-popular Elf on the Shelf.

Except Vivienne is not creepy.

And you can touch her. (In fact, she rather likes it).

And she has good taste in clothing.

During a recent walk around town, I playfully began naming her neighborhood friends. I realized that many of them reminded me of new friends who have also, coincidentally, come into my life in the past few years. [Read more…]

The End of an Era

2014-12-16 20.30.28We said goodbye to an old friend today.

Not in the way you might imagine, but it was difficult nonetheless.

This English Walnut has stood beside our 160-year-old home for most of her life. Like any dear friend, she shared generously….

Provided us with beautiful moments throughout every season in the year…..

And provided unwavering shelter from the harsh elements. [Read more…]

Why I’m Ringing Bells for the Salvation Army

Salvation ArmyYears ago as part of my Leadership Washington County Health & Human Services Day, my class ate lunch at the Salvation Army. We were encouraged not to eat with our fellow classmates, rather, to reach out and sit with a client to share our meal.

It was there I learned the true meaning of fellowship.

At one point in our conversation, the man I was breaking bread with asked “who was I with?”  When I didn’t immediately respond (I was trying to think of a respectful way to tell him we were experiencing a poverty simulation), he responded, “It’s pretty obvious you don’t belong here.”

Raw. Honest. Humble words. [Read more…]

Angels Among Us

Christmas 2014 porchfavorite

“They wear so many faces, show up in the strangest places.
To grace us with their mercy, in our time of need.
I believe there are angels among us.
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours.
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give.
To guide us with a light of love.”
Randy Travis

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four months since 160+ women gathered in my gardens for the fourth annual “Soles of Love in the Garden” charity event.

It had been a tough week for my family leading up to the event but when the evening finally arrived, there was magic in the garden.

Old friends. New friends. Acquaintances who quickly became friends.

Candlelight. Twinkling lights. Smiles. Hugs. Laughter. Warmth.

[Read more…]

Giving Tuesday: The Face of Parkinson’s

Misty anniversary pic8

Today is #givingTuesday. The entire day, I have received countless emails and requests from nonprofits requesting that I go online and support their cause.

Every nonprofit is important. They all improve the quality of life. They all are worthy of my gift.

But today, my wallet and online giving goes to the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation.

[Read more…]

Cait’s Thoughts on Friendship

Cait and friendsI heard a song on the radio today by the country music star, Jason Aldean, called “Dirt Road Anthem.” This song is nostalgic because it reminds me of my best friends from school. I remember the day my friend Jenna said that this song would forever remind her of our group of friends and our senior year of college.

I don’t get to see our group all that often because most of us are far away from one another, but I’m sure that they get those same feelings and that rush of memories when they hear that song.

[Read more…]

Thoughts on Becoming a Mentor

Ana head shotMeet Ana. She is a passionate, effervescent young woman in her junior year at Hood College.

She is a Davis Peace Prize recipient. Tonight she delivered a presentation about the fascinating work she did in Bosnia-Herzegovina over the summer.

She has a passion for teaching and training.

An eagerness for learning.

And a mad desire to help people of all cultures relate better to one another.

[Read more…]