Friday, December 19, 2014

Personal Plays Life Coaching

Please check out my new life coaching website;

Personal Plays Life Coaching: Become the hero of your own life story

Friday, June 20, 2014

The greater the life's challenge, the more the heroine is called upon to manifest.

 In honor of heroic mothers of challenging kids. . .

I found this article here 

The Moms Who Are Our Heroes
Raising challenging children isn't for the faint-of-heart 

Editorial Director
Child Mind Institute

We hear a lot about hero moms, from political candidates telling their life stories on the stump to Academy Award winners pouring out tearful thanks. These stories are usually about mothers who raised successful children in extreme situations—their husbands had died, they worked in low-paying jobs (or several low-paying jobs), they lived in dangerous neighborhoods. Yet they managed to create loving, structured homes where their kids learned the values and discipline it takes to excel.

We'd like to salute some less-heralded moms who are just as devoted, tireless, and, when necessary, steely: mothers of children with psychiatric and learning disorders. Professionals who work with children note that most kids can thrive with parenting that's just okay; for kids with challenging disorders, it takes super-parenting to help them flourish. Not that we don't think dads are important, but in most of these families it's the mother who does the heavy lifting. And many of them do it with heroic focus, persistence, and selflessness.

For starters, moms are, more often than not, the first to detect that something unusual is going on with a child. Whether a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, they tend to be the most tuned into a child's development and the nuances of his behavior, and to sense when something isn't right. They're the ones most likely to question the pediatrician or the teacher, and to be unconvinced when grandparents and friends dismiss problems with "it's just a stage," or "he'll grow out of it."

When it comes to diagnosis, moms are often the ones who won't take the first answer they get, if it doesn't really fit what they know, or isn't working for the child. They're the ones who do exhaustive research, searching for an explanation for a child's complex symptoms and not giving up even when other people who care for the child—teachers, or doctors, or even spouses—don't share their sense of urgency.

While mothers of typical children may have to push them to excel in school, these moms have to push institutions—insurance companies, the medical establishment, school districts—to provide their kids with the help they need. Getting a child with a psychiatric or learning disorder into a good school can be tougher than getting a kid into Harvard. These moms hire lawyers and navigate harrowing bureaucracies. They become advocates for their kids and networkers with other moms. They write blogs and launch organizations. In the process, they are sometimes transformed. A very forceful and articulate mom we know told us the other day that until she found herself struggling to raise a child with Asperger's she was actually quite shy. We found it hard to imagine.

And then there's the time-consuming, taxing, frustrating, day-to-day effort so many of these moms expend to get challenging children into their clothes in the morning and onto the school bus, to get them to eat, to manage tantrums and other disruptive behavior, to get them to doctor's visits and therapy appointments, and to find play dates that won't be a disaster for them. It takes not only tirelessness but toughness. A mom who recently went through Parent-Child Interaction Therapy to learn to manage a 6-year-old with disruptive behavior told me that before the training she had a hard time setting clear limits. She worked, and, like so many of us, when she was home she wanted her time with her son to be fun. She was reluctant to set clear expectations for him, and follow through consistently if he didn't comply. Not any more, and her son is doing wonderfully.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Heroines in literature

I found this article here

22 Strong Female Characters In Literature We All Wanted To Be

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ―Nora Ephron 

1. Lizzie Bennett, Pride & Prejudice

BBC Films
Penguin Books
I feel like there is no one who understands me like Lizzie Bennett. She is strong, smart, and knows what she wants. More importantly her existence made me, as a young girl, feel like maybe I could grow up to be the same. I also love the fact that despite Lizzie living in a world that just wasn’t fair to women (they had to marry, they couldn’t inherit, and were often regarded as silly) she never let that stop her from speaking her mind. —Ashley Perez

2. Nancy Drew, Nancy Drew Mystery Stories

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
Carolyn Keene/ Simon & Schuster
My mom got me into reading the book series. She was smart, clever, and fiercely devoted to solving crimes. (LOL but also TRUE.) Plus, she was always getting into danger, or getting kidnapped, and even when she got over those ordeals, she’d go back for more detective work. NANCYDREW4LYFE. —Erin La Rosa

3. Sabriel, Sabriel

Sabriel because she was a badass who fought monsters and went on adventures. —Ariane Lange

4. Matilda, Matilda

TriStar Pictures
Quentin Blake/ Scholastic
I always loved the idea of her overcoming adversity by reading books. But more importantly, she taught herself telekinesis and messed with people in hilariously clever ways (but only if they deserved it, because the girl had a surprisingly flawless moral compass). —Julia Pugachevsky

5. Melba Beals, Warriors Don’t Cry

Getty Images
I’m not sure if this counts because it’s non-fiction, but in sixth grade my English teacher suggested I read Warriors Don’t Cry. It’s the memoir of Melba Patillo Beals, who was one of the Little Rock Nine. This book details what it was actually like as one of the first black kids to integrate the Arkansas school system. Melba describes having acid thrown in her face, losing friends who were scared to associate with her, and the terror of having to be escorted to school every day by guards who may or may not have wanted her to be there either. The title alone struck me, and I remember feeling so empowered and grateful for her sacrifice after reading this. —Driadonna Roland

6. Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

I identified with Anne so much. She was imaginative, ambitious, competitive, smart, loved reading and writing, and totally rocked the red hair and freckles (even if she accidentally turned her hair green that one time). She was slightly ridiculous but her flaws just made me love her more. Best of all, she made the best of bad situations and was never afraid to speak her mind or stand up for herself. She also taught me the fabulousness of puffed sleeves. —Jenna Guillaume

7. Jo March, Little Women

Columbia Pictures
Jo from Little Women is smart, impulsive, argumentative, and willing to do anything for her family, even cut all of her hair off to raise some cash. And obvs, she’s a writer so that’s awesome. Casting Winona Ryder in the part was just the icing on the cake. —Deena Shanker

8. Elphaba, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

I’ve always felt a connection to Elphaba. I love that she’s strong, opinionated, and stands up for what she thinks is right. When I read the book, I loved the idea that even though someone totally different and unique could not only succeed, but would be willing to turn her back on success for something she believed in. She was always different and would always be different, but her confidence and strength were something I have always admired. —Hannah Gregg

9. Lisbeth Salander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Music Box Films
Lisbeth has one of the fiercest moral codes I’ve ever seen in books or film. She lives by her own rules and sticks to what she believes in. She’s flawed but uses it to push herself to be who she wants to be. Not who others want her to be. She understands herself in a way very few do. She isn’t afraid to take charge and is the definition of “BOSS not bossy.” —Mackenzie Kruvant

10. Hellen Keller, The Story of My Life

I read My Story in second or third grade and I become obsessed with her. I was equal parts fascinated with her determination as a girl to learn to communicate, but also her social role as an adult — like, one of the first women pundits?? —Jina Moore

11. Sara Crewe, A Little Princess

Warner Brothers Family Entertainment
I loved Sara from A Little Princess. She loves storytelling, and everyone loves her for her stories, and she uses her imagination to survive when misfortune befalls her. She’s also brave, classy, kind, and generous no matter what. —Michelle Broder Van Dyke

12. Kristy Thomas, The Babysitters Club Series

Columbia Pictures
I’d specifically mention Kristy from The Baby-Sitters Club. She was smart and she was a leader. I think I admired her too because of how she dealt with her dysfunctional family. —Sandra Allen

13. Laura Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie

For a girl in the 19th century, she was a huge badass. Wolves and bears outside her door, riding horses bareback, never wearing shoes or a sunbonnet, and especially luring Nellie Oleson into the creek to get eaten by crabs and leeches… Plus as a kid it was a huge thing to me that she grew up to be a famous writer! —Molly Hensley-Clancy

14. Princess Cimorene, Dealing with Dragons Series

My first (and probably still my favorite) fictional lady hero was Princess Cimorene from Dealing with Dragons, which, for those of you who never had the privilege of reading it, is the first in a magical and funny and rad four-book fantasy series by Patricia C. Wrede. Cimorene is a total BAMF who a) runs away from her parents when they try to make her marry a dopey prince, b) gets a job and moves into a cave with a delightfully sassy talking dragon, c) refuses to be rescued, d) makes friends with a cool witch, and e) ends up saving the day, which I won’t go into because you should find out the details for yourself. Basically, Cimorene is hella smart and hot and capable and what’s great is that she KNOWS it; she’s not some fainting ingenue who has to be convinced of her own virtue. She’s ready to take charge from page one. —Rachel Sanders

15. Karen Blixen, Out of Africa

Universal Studios
Modern Library
She is not really fictional but Karen Blixen from Out of Africa, the book and the movie. Although the movie has many flaws, I just love Karen’s personality. She is a badass who doesn’t take any shit from anyone. She is extremely independent and sexually confident, especially for her time. And I just love the scene where she arrives to her husband’s military camp, all disheveled after several days in the desert, and completely ignores all the scandalized looks from the men around her. —Marie Telling

16. Meg Murry, A Wrinkle in Time

Dimension Television
Yes, my 11-year-old self initially loved her because we shared a name, but she was so damn relatable for a similarly awkward preteen. She was stubborn and self-conscious, but so determined, smart, and caring. Plus, she got to do all sorts of time traveling and becomes a badass mathematician. —Megan Paolone

17. Madeline, Madeline

Disney Channel
Before I learned to read, I memorized a number of Madeline books and insisted on reciting them nightly. All the other girls (my 3-year-old self included) want to be just like Madeline, and for all the right reasons: She’s brave, outgoing, funny, and an excellent problem solver. In so many books and TV shows I consumed later, the “it” girl assumed her position because she was manipulative, or a flirt, or a suck-up, but everyone looked up to Madeline because she was actually cool. —Hillary Reinsberg

18. Lucy Pevensie, The Chronicles of Narnia Series

I was obsessed with Narnia when I was small so Lucy Pevensie was an early and inspirational example of a woman (well a girl) bravely going where men feared to tread. Her brother Edmund refused to believe she she had discovered a magical land via a wardrobe, and looked rather silly when she was later crowned Queen of Narnia. I’ve been a bold traveller ever since. —Simon Crerar

19. Ramona Quimby, Ramona Quimby Series

Overall as a female character, she wasn’t focused on being pretty and she wasn’t afraid to play with the boys and get messy. There is a kind of physical joy in how she’s portrayed, inhabiting her own body and embracing that messiness rather than staying neatly within the lines. She just can’t help herself when something looks like fun and I love that! She’s always portrayed in contrast to her sister Beezus who’s proper and usually cares what other people think — and some of the other girls in Ramona’s class are also more proper. Even when I was little, I felt/made those comparisons with my peers too since I was a tomboy. Basically, these books are saying there are different ways you can be a girl and you don’t have to be a perfect little doll to be loved. —Susie Armitage

20. Hemione Granger, Harry Potter Series

Warner Brothers
I loved Hermione Granger from the moment she introduced herself on the Hogwarts Express. Here was a girl my same age who wasn’t afraid to openly declare her love for studying and reading, a badass who found a group of true friends who accepted her as she was. Hermione helped me embrace my inner nerd, and I never again felt too embarrassed to put my hand up in class to answer a question. I’m now 25 and I still consider her to be one of my role models. —Ellie Hall

21. Egwene al’Vere, The Wheel of Time Series

She’s this random girl from a backwater town who’s thrust into an exciting world. Her entire life had been planned out — what her job would be, who she’d marry, etc. But then this huge wide world opens up to her and all of a sudden there are so many possibilities! She realizes that she can be her own (amazing, stunning) person, that she can have her own life that’s not dictated by anyone else, and that she can choose her own direction. When I first stared reading the WoT series in 1990 I was 9 years old, and the series just ended in 2012. Her character development was stunning. —Cates Holderness

22. Charlotte, Charlotte’s Web

Paramount Pictures
She teaches that strength, compassion, bravery, love, and courage are the basis of true strength. I don’t recall thinking much of them being women as a kid, but as I got older, I did notice that there were few strong lead female characters in a lot of literature. —John Stanton

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014

Thank you to my wonderful clients!  It is an honor accompanying you on your journeys.


I had some coaching sessions with Nadine and she was wonderful.  Nadine helped me put together a lot of pieces in my life and see them as interconnected. Then as we worked together I became less overwhelmed and felt like I could handle what was going on. Ultimately, I feel better about myself and know I can tackle everything that is going on. 
-- Arianna Bullard, Bloomfield, NJ
I too was going to give a little Nadine shout out! I just planted some of her coaching flyers at Montclair Baby. I just finished 8 weekly sessions with her and they were invaluable. Nadine helped me navigate both the crowded contents of my head and my life’s latest challenges so I could successfully arrive at a truly focused vision for my immediate future. Together, we uncovered the strengths and abilities I had lying dormant within myself (as opposed to telling me what she thought I needed to do) and activated my truest passions and turned them into a clear direction for me to take my career in—while also putting them in context with my new role as a parent. Lots of gratitude for Nadine!
-- Jade Newkirk, Montclair, NJ
I have found that working with Nadine feels like sharing coffee with a wise friend – comfortable, open, and honest. Nadine is someone in whom you can easily confide even the most perplexing or daunting of situations, and she will hold you accountable for doing the challenging work of exploring aspects of your personality that contribute to your successes and failures.   Nadine helped me to reshape some of my major, negative trains of thought that were limiting my potential for success and happiness. She has given me the tools I need to move forward in a more confident, self-assured manner in every aspect of my life. I am now gainfully and happily employed in a new job that is meaningful to me, and I am living in a new city that brings me endless joy. Kudos to Nadine and her life-coaching talents! She is exceptionally gifted, and the recent outcomes in my life are proof positive of her coaching skills.
-- Sarah M., Washington DC
I always feel good after talking with Nadine. It feels good to have a clear plan and someone not only rooting for me, but counting on me to do it. Even when I don't accomplish my weekly goals, it makes me pause and think about why and that's been invaluable in restructuring my time and giving myself a break. Nadine has also helped me to slow down and appreciate joyful moments in my life.
-- Apryl Lee, Little Falls, NJ

Thursday, May 22, 2014

When training in life coaching, I took a program called Purpose/Clarity through which I became a Certified Purpose Clarity Coach.  This means that I am able to support people in becoming clear on their purpose in life -- what they want to offer to the world.  This is a wonderful program for women in transition, who are looking for the next step in their life.  I have used it with much success with new mothers, who are trying to carve out some space and identity for themselves after becoming a mother.  But it can  also be used with women who stayed home but now their kids are going off to school, empty-nesters, college grads who aren't sure about next steps, etc.

While going through the program, I was asked to define my own life purpose.  What a daunting and challenging task.  But after a few walks in the park and some meditating, an Umbrella (or Purpose) statement began to manifest itself.  An overarching statement which describes everything I do in my theater work and in my life coaching and support of other people:

I illuminate people's lives so they can see themselves more clearly and see the possibilities for creating a more harmonious world.

And with that, I will now step out into the harmony of the lush spring, with an orchestra of birds, each with a complementary tune, reminding of us how we can live in this world with our differences and as a unified and peaceful whole.