No Expiration Date for Meeting your Neighbors

Reaching out to neighbors no matter when you moved in can increase your happiness–don’t let time get in the way of making new connections.
For most people, when you move into a new neighborhood there is that freshness and anticipation of getting to know your neighbors. When we were planning to move from AZ to Orange County in 2011, I had visions of sharing margaritas with my new neighbors on the porch, getting invited to Bunko parties and chatting about the latest with my neighbors when we met up at the mail box.

This is the kind of neighborhood I came from when we lived in Arizona. A neighborhood where there was a neighborhood directory, monthly Bunko parties, twice annual block parties and events planned when someone moved out or celebrated a big birthday. I look back at that now with such fond memories and so much gratitude because I know you don’t find that in every neighborhood in America.

But our family was also in a different place back then and this time when we moved into our new Orange County neighborhood, we had just gone through one of the most challenging periods for our family. It colored how we looked at life and the thought of reaching out to people we didn’t know seemed overwhelming at the time. All we could do was to retreat to our home and heal from it all.

Flash forward 18 months later and we are happy and settled into our new surroundings and things seem more routine but in a good way. And while I did have an opportunity to get to know a few neighbors through my girls’ friends or the ones who lived right next to us, there were some neighbors like the ones across the street who we never got a chance to meet.

Sure we waved to them and said hello but we didn’t get to know them like my daughter did since she knew their son and attended social events at their home. My husband and I instead were cocooning in our home on the weekends.

Never too late to meet Your neighbors
But this past month we were invited to their wedding shower that was at another neighbor’s home (who we knew well) and while I felt awkward to attend after not getting to know them up until that point, this couple could not have been more welcoming and delightful. They came by the following weekend with a thank you note for our gift and treats and we got to know them even better. We liked them a lot and I felt bad that it took so long but I realized that it is never too late to get to know your neighbors.

It sparked a desire in me to facilitate a neighborhood potluck over the summer and some of the other neighbors we met at the party seemed right on board with the idea!

Plan ways to connect that work for your neighborhood
Just because we don’t have a built-in structure to get to know our neighbors like the neighborhood I came from doesn’t mean we can’t set up our own version of one in the neighborhood we are in now. In fact, I also found a great resource called Meet the Neighbors. I found a cute post on ways to connect with your neighbors by Other than extreme cases, I think knowing your neighbors on some level increases our happiness and makes us feel more connected in the world and that is definitely a good thing!

Photo from

Even when busy, finding time to connect is a must

Finding time to enjoy others in person is just as important as other weekly tasks so keep it fairly high on your priority list.

If you a busy mom like me, it is amazing the things we accomplish in a typical week. Carpools, sports, school performances, meal planning, cleaning—you know the drill. While we are so focused on finding time to do the things that scream at us each week, it’s easy to not plan for soul-enriching activities that we should do too but aren’t in your face saying Me, Me, Me.

Photo from Empowering Network
Photo from Empowering Network

I’m talking about spending time in person with people. Let’s take last week for example. It was crazy busy week for me but there were several events (more than usual) planned to connect with others.

On Tuesday, there were two networking meetings scheduled in one day. It was hectic that morning because I was on a training call and running late to the lunch meeting. As I ran (ok, trotted quickly) from my car to inside of the restaurant and down to the room in the back, my rushed and out of control feeling completely dissolved as I sat down among other female business owners having lunch and started connecting with them.

After the meeting, a few ladies came up to me and said encouraging words about my upcoming workshop and I was able learn more about the attendees’ different businesses on a personal level. That meeting and another event in the evening was just what I needed to give me the energy and creativity to work on my business tasks the rest of the week.

Schedule time for your kids to connect

030The rest of the week  included a happy hour drink with my hubby, a movie date with girlfriends and walking around beautiful Laguna Beach on Saturday with my girls. My sister and niece drove up from San Diego and I loved spending time with her and my girls with their cousin.

Friday night, my younger daughter had friends over after school and later went on a group outing and my older daughter had a few friends for a sleepover.

Whew—that is a whole lotta connecting going on in one week! Was it hectic and things a little less managed (at times way less managed) because of these events–sure it was. So it would have been so easy for me to say no to having my daughter’s friends over or to participate in what I did that week but I am so glad I did. After each meeting, I walked away feeling filled up and joyful. With the right people, we get energy we never knew we had and if we stay in the present moment, it gives us a break from the everyday mundane stuff we have to do each week!

Help New Connections Grow

DSC00483With Spring in the air, I, thought I’d use a gardening analogy for my post today. Let’s say you find a cute little flower plant from Lowes that catches your eye. Although small, it’s healthy with nice leaves and a small bud and has the potential to grow up to be a beautiful part of your garden. For that to happen, you have to find the right area for it, feed it some nutrients and water it regularly.

A new friendship is like that small plant. The first day you meet someone who you really like, you’re excited about the potential. You find out you have a lot in common and you feel like you could talk to this person for hours. Unfortunately, as busy women (and men), it’s easy to let that person fall by the wayside because you do too much already, right?  So like a small plant with no water and tending to, if you don’t follow up with that person, the potential friendship withers away.

But honestly, how many times do we REALLY meet someone who we connect with on multiple levels? I’m talking personally, professionally, spiritually –one or all. Don’t let those special people slip away because you never know where their friendship may lead.

good friend photoThinking back, some people who I had instant connections with ended up being in my wedding, becoming lifelong friends, spiritual advisors, business mentors or friends who I can meet up for lunch a few times a year and laugh and cry with! Any one of those relationships could have withered away and not added the depth of love and friendship to my life as they do today!

Just recently, I’ve met some new women at various local networking events or one as a new client and I liked them instantly. We followed up with a coffee date or me attending one or more of their events they hosted.  Or with my new health and wellness client who I met yesterday, she and I are planning to do a women’s health and happiness workshop together this summer because we just knew we had to partner together on something!

So keep this in mind when you meet a new person you hit it off instantly. Is there something you can do to see them again and get to know them better? You just never know what wonderful things may “grow” from it! Happy Connecting!


Reach Out to Others After a Tragedy

I don’t know about you but lately I hear more and more about another person taking their life as a result of a terrible life-changing event such as cyber-bullying, a scandal or a tragic accident that takes the lives of family members particularly children.

One such case was a mother, Jackie Hance, whose three daughters were tragically killed in 2009 when her sister-in-law (who was intoxicated at the time) drove the wrong way on a highway and plowed her SUV into another car on the way home from a camping trip. Also killed were the driver and her daughter and three others in the other car. Below is a photo of her family before the tragic accident.

Photo from
Photo from

Jackie shared in interviews her thoughts of suicide as she contemplated joining her daughters in heaven. She explained that what later saved her, among other things, was getting connected again with her girlfriends such as joining them for regular morning group runs. Through their support, she decided to try and have another baby and she and her husband are now parents of a beautiful 17-month old. She wrote about her experience and you can check out Jackie’s new book here at

Another example I read about was how Bernie Madoff’s two sons handled the aftermath of their dad’s $65 billionPonzi scheme. Madoff was convicted and is serving a 150-year jail term for his horrendous crime and both his sons severed their relationships with him and their mother. Whether the sons did or did not know what their father was doing is not relevant here but rather how they handled this traumatic event afterward.


The younger brother Andrew, left,  chose to not read about the scandal in the media and instead leaned on his family and friends for support. He got back into regular routines and chose to stay connected with those he loved. He even more recently reconciled with his mother Ruth, which has been especially helpful as he battles another diagnosis of cancer, which he overcame years earlier after being diagnosed in 2003.

In contrast, Andrew shared in recent interviews, his older brother Mark chose to read everything about the scandal in the media and distanced himself from family and friends.  Andrew said Mark suffered from not leaning on others to support him emotionally and it unfortunately led to his suicide in 2010.

These two extreme examples are a good reminder healingtherapy

that no matter what is going on in our lives, we must not disconnect from others because it is their love and belief  in us that can help us get through the toughest of times. So stay connected with your loved ones in good times and in bad—it may just save your life someday!

Meetup Helps People Find their “Peeps”

Last night I had a great time attending a networking meeting about 10 minutes from  where I live with women who share a similar interest of promoting their businesses and supporting other female business owners. The group is called The Grassroots Network of Orange County and in the last month, I have attended two different local meetings and plan to attend more.

meetupphotoPictured left is me is with a wonderful local baker I met –Tina, who owns Frosting on Top–her mini cupcakes were divine!!

Also, about a month ago, I found a group of local people who like to play tennis (and at my similar skill level) and meet at tennis courts only a short drive from my house. I now play with them every Wednesday and Saturday and I enjoy it tremendously.

What both of these groups have in common is that I found them through this fantastic resource called Meetup. I came upon the Meetup organization when I was searching online for people I could play tennis with in my local area. The link for came up and I have been using this resource regularly and I am thoroughly hooked! According to their website, they are the world’s largest network of local groups, making it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of thousands of other groups already meeting face-to-face. So as a blogger and promoter of connecting and meeting up with people in person—Meetup had my name written all over it!



And it appears I’m one of a many, many fans. With more than 13 million members, they are now in 196 countries and have more than 126,000 meetup groups formed. Thanks to them—there is a lot more purposeful connecting going on! Their company mission is to revitalize local communities and help people around the world self-organize. From my own experience, it is easy to join, gives you weekly e-mail reminders of upcoming meetups you signed up for, sends alerts of suggested meetup groups you might be interested in and after each meetup, makes it easy for you to respond online to say thank you to the people you met up with. How great is that!

So wherever you are, if you have an interest you would like to share with others in your local area, check them out at I did and I am forever grateful!