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Sharing the Heart of the Matter

Sharing the Heart of the Matter

By SharingHoTM

A place where we talk about heart stories, inspirations, and our journey to discover what matters most.
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Episode 11: How to Journal the Right Way with Libby Saylor

Sharing the Heart of the MatterMar 31, 2023

Episode 36: They Call Me Mom with Pete Springer

Episode 36: They Call Me Mom with Pete Springer

In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host Vicki Atkinson and we are talking with author Pete Springer about his book, They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher

Pete, an elementary school educator for 31 years, tell us some heart-warming and also some heart-breaking stories that came from his years in the classroom. As he worked to educate kids and helped to raise a generation of decent people, he captures all the lessons he learned from the unfiltered goodness of children.

He recalls his early days on the job – wanting to walk in and prove himself but also finding out how much on the job learning happens as a teacher. So he pays homage to how hard, and also necessary, it is for new teachers to be vulnerable and ask for help.

Pete speaks to the level of trust that's necessary to connect with students to create a positive learning environment and it comes as no surprise that some of his former students still trust him enough to have their stories included in his book.

At the end, we ask Pete about his thoughts about the future of education and also what he’s working on. And he shows us that it’s possible to teach through writing.

This is a great episode about teachers, learning, and the best of community and collaboration when we come together to support both educators and students. We know you’ll love it.

Episode 36 show notes

They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher on Amazon

Pete's blog: Pete Springer

Sep 22, 202341:44
Episode 35: September Savor with Vicki and Wynne

Episode 35: September Savor with Vicki and Wynne

Sep 15, 202334:18
Episode 34: How To: Writing Family Narratives with Brian Hannon

Episode 34: How To: Writing Family Narratives with Brian Hannon

In this episode of the podcast, Vicki and Wynne turn the microphone over to our colleague, Brian Hannon, and he interviews us. Brian, an accomplished writer and author, started his career as a newspaper reporter and he uses those skills to uncover how Vicki and I came to write family memoirs.

Brian digs in to how the two of us, started our projects to write personal narratives even though neither of had jobs as professional authors.

In talking about our impetus to write, we uncover the many similarities between our narratives. Both of us were writing uncover secrets, Vicki to find what her mother was working so hard to hide, and I was trying to figure out what combination made my dad twinkle.

Brian asks us to expand on the difficult part about writing about families as we navigate the territory to put pen to paper about our individual experience and perspective amidst the interwoven stories of family.

We shed some tears talking about our dearly departed and recognizing that people want to be remembered. And how answering the call to write helps to not only make sure they are remembered but also pass along the best part of those that have gone before us.

Brian gets Vicki and me to expand on the trepidation that comes with showing others what we’ve written, especially others that have a part in the story. We circle back to knowing our motivation for writing to keep us steady through the process.

This is a great episode about how to approach writing a personal narrative when you are called to do it and navigating all that comes with it. I know you’ll love it. And another thing I know you’ll love is our catchy new podcast music composed for us by the exquisitely talented Jack Canfora and Rob Koenig. I hope you give it a listen!

Episode 34 show notes

Brian's personal blog: Writing from the Heart with Brian

Brian's post that we mention at the end: The farmer: A message of hope

Vicki’s recently released book: Surviving Sue

Wynne’s book about her beloved father: Finding My Father’s Faith

Sep 08, 202355:30
Episode 33: Love Lessons with Mark Petruska
Sep 01, 202333:10
Episode 32: Trying Podcasting Part II with Vicki and Wynne

Episode 32: Trying Podcasting Part II with Vicki and Wynne

In this episode, Wynne Leon and Vicki Atkinson are finishing their two-part series about podcasting. In this second episode of the two, we are focusing on the mechanics of podcasting.

We talk about some of the choices we’ve had to make about where to publish our podcast, how widely to distribute it on other platforms, and what we’ve learned about how those choices impact things like the ability to see listener stats.

Vicki brings up some of the down stream options that have come to us to partner with people and how our approach is to be curious and careful. Which extends to advertising and making money off a podcast, neither of which we’ve done, because we’ve taken this slow route.

In this episode, we also talk about how to find and invite guests on, a practice we still are relatively new at but has been so fun and inspiring to us personally to get to meet our guests. Vicki and I talk about the care and feeding of guests as well as our ongoing practice to be voracious listeners.

And although we don’t talk about it on air, Vicki found a great resource of podcast ideas along the way on our journey and so we link to it below.

This is a fun episode of storytelling about podcasting, with a few extra stories about the silliness of the ups and downs that happen along the way. We laugh even as we talk about dry topics like podcast platforms and stats. I know you’ll love it.

Episode 32 show notes

75 Podcast Ideas and Topics

And if you'd like to be on our podcast or suggest someone else, please send email to

Aug 25, 202335:16
Episode 31: Trying Podcasting - Part 1 with Wynne and Vicki

Episode 31: Trying Podcasting - Part 1 with Wynne and Vicki

In this episode, Wynne is with co-host Vicki Atkinson and they are doing a two-part series about podcasting. In this first episode of the two, we are focusing on what podcasting has taught us about trying.

We start by talking about the quote from an unknown author Wynne saw before starting this journey:

Your first podcast will be awful.
Your first video will be awful.
Your first article will be awful.
Your first art will be awful.
Your first photo will be awful.
But you can't make your 50th without making your first.
So get it over with, and make it.

It's a quote that made Wynne feel impatient at the outset – not wanting to go through the awful and having all those repetitions. Vicki thinks of it as the pancake quote – the first one out of the pan is never the best.

But now that we’re on our 31st episode, we talk about how much we’ve learned in the process. And that we’d never have gotten there if we hadn’t tried.

We talk about Vicki’s willingness to jump in and try, how having a shared mission is important to her willingness to jump on board.

Vicki talks about podcasting being a part of publishing and marketing a book and how we want to be a place to helps authors with that part of the cycle. Part of our mission is that we want to shine a light on the good things they’ve done.

Wynne shares what learning to be a sound engineer as well as a host has taught her about listening, and we laugh about all the things that happen that we can’t edit out. Vicki shares the tips and tricks that she learned doing voice over work in years past.

We come together to talk about how to make people comfortable telling their stories that matter. And how doing that – it what matters most for us.

This is first episode in this podcast about podcasting is a great episode about trying and learning. And a little about podcasting and publishing along the way. We know you’ll love it.

And then come back and join us next week for an episode focused on the how-tos and whats of podcasting both as a guest and a host. We look forward to it!

 Episode 31 show notes

Aug 18, 202338:31
Episode 30: True Grit with Cheryl Oreglia

Episode 30: True Grit with Cheryl Oreglia

In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host Vicki Atkinson and they are talking to author and blogger Cheryl Oreglia.

Cheryl reads an essay from her book, Grow Damn It, called True Grit and we talk about what we develop as we grow through life – the ability to get up and dust ourselves off again and again. In her charming and funny way, Cheryl makes us realize that each failure is a delightful opportunity.

We talk about how Cheryl found a letter she’d written to her mom, but never delivered, a few years after her mom passed and the reluctance to open it. We touch on that feeling that beckons us to think back to the moment we were before our parents died and the bittersweetness of crossing back to that time.

But for each increment of wisdom and perspective we gain, there are many things we also get to lose as we get older. Vicki and I ask Cheryl about the most delightful things she’s found useful to leave behind in middle-age and beyond. Cheryl talks about letting go of perfectionism, over-apologizing, and over-pleasing and using the space to focus instead on family and faith.

This is a great conversation with Cheryl, a wonderful and authentic writer and essayist. So, of course, we ask what she’ll write next and we talk about a perspective on retirement that we rarely hear about. This is a wonderful episode full of love, laughter, and a little risk. We know you’ll love it.

Episode 30 show notes

Grow Damn It!: The Feeding and Nurturing of Life by Cheryl Oreglia

Cheryl's blog: Living in the Gap

Aug 11, 202338:24
Episode 29: Accidental Philanthropists with Dr. Gerald Stein
Aug 04, 202350:14
Episode 28: How Self Care Can Make Us Better Humans with Vicki Atkinson

Episode 28: How Self Care Can Make Us Better Humans with Vicki Atkinson

In this episode, Wynne Leon is with Vicki Atkinson talking about how self care can make us better humans.

We all have different ideas of what a self-care looks like for ourselves – ideas that match our personality and phase of life. But for all the variation in style, there is a central question of how to make self-care stick.

So in this episode, Vicki and I talk about the little hacks that help us to really fill our cups – things like knowing how we self-sabotage or trying not to go whole hog into self-care but instead picking and choosing what’s really helpful.

I talk about seeing the bigger picture and how that helps to orient meon  what truly is important. It’s quite probable that I won’t ever get to the end of my to-do list, or at least not until I retire and the kids have moved away, so it’s my way of finding some peace in knowing what is going to make a difference.

Vicki and I talk about the love of naps and how they help to reset our system and create a break between one thing and the next.

And in the midst of summer vacations and home improvement projects, we commiserate about all the fun threatens to throw us off kilter. I talk about how meditation is my tool to irrigate the irritation and Vicki reveals how she spends energy to get energy.

Vicki answers how disruption helps to remind her that she can learn and adapt. We tie our need for adapt to things at a personal level, like having to change plans because of the AQI or air quality index, and extend the conversation from personal self-care to global self-care.

Which is a great way to segue to why this is a full-circle episode because we tie how taking caring of ourselves helps us to be more thoughtful people in this world. I know you’ll love it.

Episode 28 show notes

Jul 28, 202334:40
Episode 27: The Power of the Pause with Deirdre Wilcox

Episode 27: The Power of the Pause with Deirdre Wilcox

In this episode, Wynne Leon is with meditation and yoga teacher, and massage therapist, Deirdre Wilcox and they are talking about the power of the pause. Deirdre talks about the pause she implements when we converse, the moment to let a question sink in so that she can respond in a thoughtful way that is more in-line with her wise mind. We talk about how pauses can help us when our buttons are pushed so that we can work to build bridges instead of walls with the people we love. Or in the cases where building walls is the most appropriate course of action, that we do it intentionally.

Deirdre introduces us to the idea of interosception – the way the mind perceives and gathers all the available input from the body – and how pauses to allow that to work to create freedom from our 1st level reactions into more accurate responses that are in-line with our deeper wisdom.

In this episode, we hear about the breath practices that help us to align with small pauses. In the breath, we can find ways to notice all the pauses in life around us – in the ocean, the lunar cycle, the solstices and find a way to anchor our natural pauses.

At the end of our time together, Deirdre describes a few small pauses she takes in a day to notice and remember what is around and how these short moments of mindfulness can help to slow our race through life and instead enjoy the here and now.

This is a great episode about using an extra beat to access better information, respond with more care, and pay closer attention. We know you’ll love it.

Episode 27 show notes

Jul 21, 202334:32
Episode 26: Eye of the Tiger with Mark Petruska

Episode 26: Eye of the Tiger with Mark Petruska

In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host, Dr. Vicki, and writer and blogger, Mark Petruska and we are talking about personal anthems and resiliency.

Do you have a personal anthem? That song that runs through your head and heart when you face something tough.

Mark reads his post, Eye of the tiger, thrill of the fight for us, the story of his divorce, then dating, and finally his career switch to becoming a full-time writer. We uncover how Mark used both an 80’s pop song, Eye of the Tiger by Survivor as well as the character of Rocky to give him a boost when needed through challenging times.

We find out from Mark how blogging helped him find his voice, be vulnerable and get support during hard times, and eventually even led to his now-wife Tara. Mark reveals how the practice helped him find the confidence to pursue a full-time writing career.

Hard times sometimes last for years as we work through major life changes like divorce, so Mark tells us what kept him laughing during the times when life events didn’t seem very funny.

And finally we end talking about optimism and resiliency. Mark ties it all together with the 3 P’s of positive psychology from Martin Seligman.

Wynne has a mantra that she talks about in this episode and Vicki reveals her personal anthem. Spoiler alert it’s “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty. If you haven’t thought of one, we have a link to a great resource of personal anthem suggestions in the show notes.

 This is a great episode about using personal anthems through difficult circumstances to keep us motivated and energized to get back up again. We know you’ll love it.

Episode 26 show notes

Mark's blog: Mark My Words

Jul 14, 202331:58
Episode 25: The Book Publication Process with Vicki Atkinson

Episode 25: The Book Publication Process with Vicki Atkinson

In this episode of the podcast, I'm with Vicki Atkinson and we're discussing the book publishing process. We talk about the trepidation that publication can bring, the feeling that comes with opening what you’ve worked on privately for so long to a wider audience. Vicki helps to counter that by grounding us in knowing our purpose and inspiration for writing.

We talk about the difference between writing to spill secrets and writing to provide insight into how to be resilient through tough situations. Often, the difference lies in doing the work to center ourselves so that we are ready to write. Then one can operate from a foundation of curiosity and healing instead of just recounting the stories that wound.

Vicki walks us through some of the marketing activities she is currently wrangling with, regardless of how you publish a work, all the effort that goes in to promote it. We discuss what a different animal marketing is from writing, even though they both leave us feeling tenuous and exposed.

We discuss the differences between self-publishing and signing with a publisher, ranging from all the components like cover art, and editing that you need to fund if you self-publish and comparing it to the distribution and contracts that come with a publisher.

And then we circle back to having a clear purpose for writing the memoirs that are so personal and mean so much to us, and how that pushes us through all these uncomfortable aspects of not only writing, but the marketing and beyond.

Episode 25 show notes

This is a great episode about taking books to market and all that comes with it and I know you’ll love it.

Jul 07, 202333:40
Episode 24: The In-Between with Libby Saylor

Episode 24: The In-Between with Libby Saylor

In this episode of the Sharing the Heart of the Matter podcast, Wynne Leon is with co-host, Dr. Vicki Atkinson and our colleague, writer, and artist, Libby Saylor, and we talk about Libby’s essay, Old Doors are Closing but New Ones Have Not Yet Opened. We dig into that uncomfortable in-between place that we occasionally find ourselves in – experiencing the discomfort of change without the relief of knowing yet what the next thing will be. In her delightful, honest, and open way, Libby takes us into the disruptions in her life that are making her feel unsettled. And she shares what fuels her optimism for things to come.

Libby tells us a wonderful story about a similar period in her life that she had to feel her way through – and how it led to rich and rewarding experiences as she opened herself to as the doors the opened.

We talk about what to say to ourselves in the period of in-between, admitting this is hard and praying in whatever way we are inclined to be open.

Finally, Libby lets us peak into her artist ways of getting the gunk out as we tease a course that she is building for our community so that we can benefit from her depth and experience as an artist to express ourselves, even when life is uncomfortable.

This is a great episode filled with inspiration and depth as Vicki, Libby, and I talk about waiting through the periods of life that are uncomfortable and in-between. I know you’ll love it.

Episode 24 show notes on HoTM

Libby on Instagram as @libbysaylor and @thegoddessattainable

Jun 30, 202326:47
Episode 23: Marv Taking Charge with Lois Roelofs

Episode 23: Marv Taking Charge with Lois Roelofs

In this episode, Wynne Leon and Dr. Vicki Atkinson sit down with Lois Roelofs to talk about her incredibly beautiful book, Marv Taking Charge. We talk with Lois about her husband’s decision not to seek treatment for small cell lung cancer and how that choice set up a very intentional life for them as they spent quality time saying good-bye to people that were closest to them. Lois, who has a PhD in nursing and is a former nurse educator, talks about the Patient’s Bill of Rights and the importance of going into decisions about treatment knowing what the priorities are.

Lois brings us along on the road trips she and Marv took after his diagnosis to visit family and friends, to give cherished last hugs. Marv lived well beyond the doctor’s estimate of just a few weeks giving them six wonderful months together.

We talk with Lois about the rapid decline at the end and take in her advice for anyone going through a similar end of life process to lean on the beliefs that give them strength, gather their support system and to sign up for hospice from day one for the care and support they provide. Lois tells us how Marv gave her a gift from the beginning by saying, “You’ll be fine. I’m the one who is dying” and how she worked to honor him as the person who was dying.

This is a great episode filled love and meaning as we talk about intentionally walking towards the end of life. We know you’ll love it.

Show Notes: Episode 23: Marv Taking Charge with Lois Roelofs

Marv Taking Charge: A Story of Bold Love and Courage on Amazon

Lois' blog: Write Along with Me

Jun 23, 202334:34
Episode 22: Themes in Surviving Sue with Vicki Atkinson

Episode 22: Themes in Surviving Sue with Vicki Atkinson

In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host, Dr. Vicki Atkinson and they talk about Vicki's newly released book, Surviving Sue.

In this episode that is near and dear to our hearts, we dig in to what it takes to write a memoir about such a complex character as Vicki’s mom, Sue who was afflicted with anxiety, depression, alcoholism, Munchausen’s by proxy and later on, Alzheimer’s. We talk about the huge personal benefit of doing the work to turn anger into compassion and positive regard and how that facilitates intergenerational healing in our families as well as our own relationships.

We laugh about all the funny parts of Sue as well as a character with infectious positivity and gravitational pull. Because there is always a lighter side to go with the shadow, so we highlight all the fun that Vicki included into the book that makes it such a complete and satisfying story and picture of a woman.

Vicki tells us about uncovering the secrets that Sue carried her whole life, many of them filed away in an ugly gray-green filing cabinet, and the unspoken relationship Sue and Vicki had because as her daughter, she often saw more than Sue wanted her too.

As part of the sandwich generation, taking care of her mom at the same time as raising her daughter, Vicki talks about the tough spots trying to balance it all.

Show Notes: Episode 22: Themes from Surviving Sue with Vicki Atkinson on HoTM

Surviving Sue | Eckhart Press

Vicki's blog: Victoria Ponders

This is a great episode filled with inspiration and depth as Vicki and I talk about doing the important but difficult work to understand our parents as people. I know you’ll love it.

Jun 16, 202334:18
Episode 21: A Creative Life with Elizabeth Wickham
Jun 09, 202330:09
Episode 20: The Art of the Interview with Dr. Gerald Stein
Jun 02, 202347:01
Episode 19: Long Distance Letters with Vicki and Wynne
May 26, 202330:44
Episode 18: No Time For Kings with Mark Petruska
May 19, 202325:08
Episode 17: Building a Base with Brian Hannon
May 12, 202330:17
Episode 16: Nuggets of Kindness with Stuart Perkins
May 05, 202324:34
Episode 15: Writing into a Full and Balanced Life with Brenda Harrison
Apr 28, 202330:09
Episode 14: Holding Space with Deirdre Wilcox
Apr 21, 202345:03
Episode 13: The Best Seat In the House with Bruce Bohrer

Episode 13: The Best Seat In the House with Bruce Bohrer

In this episode, Vicki and Wynne had the pleasure of visiting with Bruce Bohrer, author of “Best Seat in the House:  A Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher” and it was a terrific, behind-the-scenes peek into a beloved sports venue in Chicago.

Tune in as Bruce shares anecdotes about famous players – Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks, and Ryan Dempster – and stay for the fun as Bruce shares stories about the “real stars of the game” – the fans – as he talks about fun encounters with the irrepressible die-hard Cubs fans. 

Bruce’s nine-year ‘second career’ was a dream come true --  and a privilege, he says, to work in historic landmark.  Join us as Bruce shares fond memories, including the bonds he built with his fellow ushers and fans from around the world.

We talk about all the characters that come together to make a ball field work - the marriage proposals, pictures taken, and vendor songs. Wrigley Field shows up as a character in its own right complete with history, ambiance, and destination for all those that want to see one of the oldest ballparks in America. Bruce also tells us about how his book about his post retirement stint as an usher came together with the stats, the stories and the surreptitious notes he took on the job.

We know you will enjoy this entertaining and fun episode!

Show notes: Episode 13: Best Seat In the House with Bruce Bohrer on HoTM

Best Seat In The House: Diary Of A Wrigley Field Usher | Eckhartz Press Best Seat in the House: Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher eBook : Bohrer, Bruce: Kindle Store

Apr 14, 202338:26
Episode 12: On Storytelling with Stuart M. Perkins
Apr 07, 202321:45
Episode 11: How to Journal the Right Way with Libby Saylor

Episode 11: How to Journal the Right Way with Libby Saylor

In this episode, Wynne Leon is with Vicki Atkinson and Libby Saylor to talk about Libby’s post about how to journal the right way. That is to say to journal to really heal the tough, icky, and not so fun, phases and feelings. We touch on the inner child and how journaling can work to really soothe those parts of ourselves who don’t feel heard.
We bring in Rumi’s guest house and liken journaling to really welcoming the whole complement of feelings in so we can receive the message and move on.

Libby and Vicki talk about the therapeutic effects of putting pen to paper. Libby inspires us as an artist and human to make the journaling and growing process attractive and social.
Finally we talk about how life requires us to pay attention and grow and that sometimes we write it down to squeeze out what we need.
We know you’ll love this episode with the company of wonderful people looking to lean-in to growth!

Show notes can be found at the HoTM website: Episode 11: How to Journal the Right Way with Libby Saylor

Mar 31, 202333:56
Episode 10: The Power of Intuition with Deirdre Wilcox
Mar 24, 202345:16
Episode 9: The Audacity to Believe with Mitch Teemley
Mar 17, 202332:02
Episode 8: Expressive Writing
Mar 10, 202332:24
Episode 7: Grow Damn It!
Mar 03, 202335:20
Episode 6: Really Listen To The Way We Talk To Ourselves

Episode 6: Really Listen To The Way We Talk To Ourselves

In this conversation with between Wynne Leon and Libby Saylor (aka The Goddess Attainable), they talk about Libby's post, Really Listen to the Way We Talk To Ourselves, self-compassion, dating and the mirror of love, and healing wounds from our families of origin.

Here are some of Wynne's take-aways from this episode:

What I learned - Libby’s beautiful perspective about listening to ourselves, “I just want to listen [to myself] with LOVE.”

My favorite phrase from Libby  – “I’d already journaled til my hand was about to fall off”

How I felt after our conversation – hopeful. Libby’s beautiful way of leaning into the mess of ourselves and life is courageous and contagious.

Show notes:

Check out Libby’s bio on Our Team page. And follow her on Instagram @thegoddessattainable

Feb 24, 202328:35
Episode 5: Fathers, Sons & Flannel
Feb 17, 202336:44
Episode 4: Why Theater Matters

Episode 4: Why Theater Matters

I’ve heard Jack Canfora joke that being a playwright in America in this day and age is a little like choosing to be a figure skater in Kenya. Meaning no disrespect to Kenyan figure skaters, of course.

Which makes me respect Jack and his path even more. He started with writing comedy sketches in his 20’s and then became a playwright in his 30’s. He’s won awards, had his plays performed off-Broadway, and taken a lot of other jobs (teacher, copy writer, writing coach) to make it work. That is to say, Jack knows more about the business of writing than most of us put together – and still he writes!

I could gush endlessly about Jack. And I often do. I’ve had a writer’s crush on him for forever because he speaks to my heart. Every time I talk with him, read him, or listen/watch one of his plays, I come away smarter and more human. Along with his brilliance, he has a gentle kindness, empathy, and humor that make what he says sorta hang in the air with soft wonder.

Please listen to this great conversation as we wind our way through collective effervescence, Abraham Lincoln, what the theater sounds like to a playwright and actor, and the “concentrated dose of emotion” we get from theater.

Here are links for this episode:

Show notes: 

Step 9 - Jack's play released as a radio drama in podcast form or search New Normal Rep Step 9 wherever you podcast

Jack's theater company: New Normal Rep

Jack's blog writing: The Writing on the Padded Wall and on Wise & Shine

For info on Jack as a writing coach and his plays:

To follow Jack on Twitter and Instagram: @jackcanfora

Feb 10, 202323:29
Episode 3: On Mountaineering, Martial Arts, Overcoming Challenges and Motherhood
Feb 03, 202329:35
Episode 2: Finding My Father's Faith
Jan 27, 202337:37
Episode 1: Why We Are Here

Episode 1: Why We Are Here

Vicki and Wynne launch the Sharing the Heart of the Matter podcast and talk about why connection is so important. Delving into blogging, sharing stories that are close to the heart, and revealing what community means to them, they start this journey into listening to ourselves and each other with full hearts.

Jan 20, 202326:41