3 “Pretty” Ways to Say No

Happy Monday!

We live in a culture of “nice.” Apparently, it’s not nice to say “No.” ~ Janine Helligar

No, thank you. That won't work from me. I'm not interested.

By now, you know that I’m a little obsessed with the word “No.” But, hey, I understand that saying “No” is hard, maybe even impossible, for most of us. Well, I’ve got you covered.

Ta-da: Here are three “pretty” ways to say “No” when you want to be honest, but, frankly, you are feeling just a little Pee Wee Herman, or for those instances when a flat-out “No” just ain’t right:

  1. Make it pretty with a simple “No, thank you.” The trick here is to keep your tone low but firm.
  2. Make it pretty with a direct “That won’t work for me.” This one works best if you look them in the eye and do your sincerest beauty contestant smile.
  3. Make it pretty with a forthright “I’m not interested.” OK, be careful with this one. Again, begin with that smile, and then follow-up immediately with “Please, pass the gravy” or something similarly mundane.

But here’s the real clincher: The key to successfully using any of the strategies above, or even saying a simple “No,” is that you have to will yourself to shut up after you utter the key word(s.) Zip. Zilch. Nada. I mean it.

Because the minute you start explaining, you’ve lost your power. Please, I beg you. After all the internal angst it took for you to finally take the leap into the pool of “my thoughts matter and I value my feelings,” don’t ruin every thing!”

Quite frankly, I think these are marvelous stand ins for the simple “No,” don’t you think?! You are still “nice” and you’ve stood up for yourself. This is win-win.

Of course, the appropriateness of each technique will depend on the place, time, and person you are engaging with. Listen to your gut and choose wisely.

Call-to-action: Chime in, please. Do you have another way to a pretty “No?”

If you like this, check out these related posts:

Is this a dirty word?
Why You Should Say No

And I love him! I love him!

Happy Friday!

I want you to meet a very important man in my life. From the first few measures, before he even uttered a single word, I knew, I knew, that this was the beginning of a lifelong, beautiful love affair.

It was September 1980. We “met” on one of those glorious, but already hot as you know what early afternoons, in Florida as I was flitting about in my Datsun 210 with the radio on doing what I don’t even remember. But I remember him.

Over the years, he has never failed me. When life overwhelms or shatters my heart, I know that I can turn to him to quiet the ugly stuff that rages inside — instantly. What I value he values. When I feel misunderstood, he understands. He is solace for me.

So naturally, I want to share this love with everyone. Let me introduce you to my favorite musical artist of all time — the Gentle Giant, the superlative Don Williams. And this is the very first song he crooned to me:

don williams i believe in you


It’s been over 30 years, and yes, I still love him! And although life has been so very disappointing. Guess What?!

I still believe in music / I still believe in magic / I still believe in babies / I still believe in mom and dad / I still believe in love / I BELIEVE.

Call to action:  What do you still believe in? What musician or song speaks to your soul? How do you use music to soothe when life is just too much? Please share a little of yourself below.

Knock! Knock! It’s me!

Happy Wednesday!

It’s hard getting older. It is harder still in a world that seems to only value those souls that are newly arrived or those that haven’t yet lost their sparkle of newness.

If we are still hare, then we are still relevant and we owe it to ourselves and others to show up and engage.

And some days, it seems like I have to shame myself into showing up and engaging. But what’s the alternative: a rut or a coffin. Today, neither!

Call to action: Get up. Show up. Engage. Oh, and don’t forget to share below your 411 on showing up and engaging.

What’s in a name?


Happy Monday!

OK. I have few posts under my belt now. And, hopefully, by now you are getting a sense of who I am if you’ve read them. You have read them, right?! If not, I’ll wait right here until you come back. Take your time.

Back already?! Good. Now, let me be frank.

I’m no rose, so my name mispronounced ain’t sweet. Outside of my immediate family, one or two aunts, one uncle, and my true friends (a very small circle), no one pronounces my name correctly!

Yes, that means that Every. Single. Day. of my life since I have been old enough to understand the sound of my name I cringe inwardly when others address me. Multiple. Times. Every. Single. Day. And for me, it is like Raptor claws on a chalk board. That’s a lot of psychic pain.

There are two particularly memorable instances where my simple two syllable first name created “drama.” One manager told me, “Go back to your country if you want your name pronounced correctly!” and another person asked me, “What would you like your name to be if you could choose any name?” Well, my answer to the first was the cold retort, “I will no longer respond to you as long as you continue to mispronounce my name” and to the second, “My name pronounced correctly.”

In my little corner of the ‘net, I am hoping to make real connections, so I thought I would take this time early on to share this huge peeve of mine with you: My name is J.A.N.I.N.E. It consists of just two syllables.

If you can pronounce JAN or JANET or JANICE, then you have the correct sound for the first three letters and the first syllable of my name. Oh, and please, say it softly — no unnecessary harsh enunciation. All together now: Jan-neen. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?!

Call to action: Taking the time to address someone by their name and pronounce it correctly is a sign of respect and caring. Do you agree or disagree?

P.S. And no, you may NOT call me Jan or Miss J.

Scandalous Redefined… My Way!

Happy Friday!

For years, my mum has told me, “You are scandalous” in reference to my sometimes “shocking” directness and expression of self. At first, I was a little hurt and took it negatively. And I would immediately go into defense mode. But with time, understanding and self-acceptance, I have come to love this word and I believe it speaks to the truest part of who I am.

the word scandalous redefined: putting yourself out there with great daring.

I’ve embraced it so much so that my word for this year is (drum roll, please): SCANDALOUS. But I’ve redefined it. (Yes, you can redefine a word.)

I am scandalous! And that’s a good thing in my book.

So this year no more hiding my “light under a bushel.” I am coming out scandalously!

Call to Action: Can you feel me on this? Are you struggling with letting your scandalous self shine? Or are you already scandalous? Please share your stories below. I’d love hear them.

Lying under a tree, looking up at God

Happy Wednesday!

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, and I’m feeling sad…

image of looking up through gnarled tree branches from beneath

but it is absolutely stunning outside, I find myself the tallest, oldest, and greenest tree, I lie beneath it, I look up, and I bask in the wonder of dappled sunlight dancing playfully on my skin. And I imagine that God is sprinkling goodness down on me.

Call to action: Open up and share what brings you close to God, infinity, or whatever you call it?

NOTE: This picture was taken in Victoria, B.C., one of the prettiest places in the world, several years ago. I found such immense beauty in the twisty, gnarly branches blanketed in a patina of lichen.

Priced Above Rubies

Happy Monday!

A new year is almost upon us, so I think it is the proper time to decide what our value will be in the coming year and thereafter…

Let’s talk about your heart, your body, and your self; about you deciding your own worth, and then only sharing the most precious parts of your SELF with those who have proven themselves worthy of the gift of you.

A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies. ~ Proverbs 31:10

It’s about being so strong mentally and emotionally that when life makes you feel desperate – and it will – with missing in action dads, I’m not pretty/talented/young/smart/rich/whatever enough, and so forth – you will still be strong enough, powerful enough to choose from a position of strength — not desperation or pain or hopelessness.

I believe that we women are the key to a better, kinder, gentler world. But only if we DECIDE to no longer throw away our power on the worthless.

If you do nothing else this year, remember that you are worthy! And then, honor that with all your heart, mind, and body. That’s an order!

Call to action: Think about your life past, present, and future. Where have you cast your rubies before swine? What state of mind allowed that to happen? How can you love yourself enough to honor your value, starting TODAY? Are you strong enough to patiently wait to share your valuable self with those who have proven themselves worthy? And if not, what steps can you take right now to start strengthening your inner self?

Everyone, this idea of valuing our selves is uber important! So please join the conversation and share your wisdom, your journey with everyone on what has worked for you in “pricing your SELF above rubies!”

A bull, a horse, and a fool

Happy Friday!

It is the day after Christmas. And I bet I can guess what most of you are up to… I hope those customer service return lines move swiftly.

Anyhoo, wanted to leave you with something to ponder this weekend:

Never approach a bull from the front, horse from the rear, and a fool from any direction.

Call to action: Sigh. Fools are inevitable. How do you handle the fools that litter your path in life? Are you still weeping and gnashing your teeth? Or have you finally discovered a way to peacefully co-exist with fools and the foolish?

Today, I made my mommy cry…


Happy Monday.

This is my very first post and I think it is a fitting one. Frankly, it has always been a real struggle for me to stay positive. But this morning,  I got to thinking hard about what I could be grateful for and decided to make it my job to have a change of attitude today! And once I started, it was like the heavens opened and the angels began to sing. So I sent this via email to my lovely mum:

Today, I am grateful for the following:

  • That both my mum and dad adore me
  • That I am not hungry at this moment
  • That I have clean water to drink and bathe in
  • That I can be warm indoors when it is BRRR outside
  • That I have a reliable car to drive and I don’t have to take public transportation
  • That I have health insurance, Dr. Chandler, and Dr. Veronica
  • That I have a new laptop and 40+ Mbps of Internet speed to type this email and start my blog
  • That I have a niffy tablet
  • That I have a great point-and-shoot camera to take amazing pictures for my blog
  • That I am getting an awesome hobby/sewing table soon
  • That I can sew my dreams
  • That I STILL have dreams I want to make and flaunt
  • That I have true blue friends — David, Michael, LaShawn, and Catalin — who have chosen to love and stay in the trenches with me all these years

And I am super grateful for all the unfailing support, belief, and love you have showered me with since the beginning. Everything I am and will be is largely because of you.

Your crazy, loving daughter,


Call to action: So do me a favor, will you? Stop whatever it is you are doing right now, and take a moment to ponder what it is you can truly be thankful for as 2014 comes to an end. And then share it with someone — anyone. You might just make someone weep sweet tears.