Sharing the Heart of the MatterMar 17, 2023
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
Pete's blog: Pete Springer
Episode 35: September Savor with Vicki and Wynne
In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host Vicki Atkinson and we are talking about the seasonal shift that comes with September. No matter where we are in life, somehow the arc of life seems noticeable as we move from summer to fall.
So Vicki and I talk about how to be active and engaged in productive way. Drawing on Vicki’s experience as a professor and dean, we talk through how to shift from September stress to September savor, our ability to fully taste and enjoy the transition.
We recognize that the stress is there for educators and families as I can attest to firsthand. So we talk about the comfort of knowing that we aren’t the only ones, and how to aim for being flexible as a family. For whatever phase we are in, we discuss ways to ride the wave of change instead of being pounded by the surf.
I tell the story of a recent adventure that my family was propelled into and Vicki notes that learning happens everywhere. Which is a great way to go full circle in this episode about back to school. Because everyone, no matter how old, can tune into the vibrancy that comes with changing something, even if it’s just the season.
This is a great episode about change, stress, and doing our best to thrive amidst it all. I know you’ll love it.
Episode 35 show notes
Vicki's personal blog: Victoria Ponders
Wynne's personal blog: Surprised by Joy
Vicki's recently released book: Surviving Sue
Wynne's book about her beloved father: Finding My Father's Faith
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
Episode 33: Love Lessons with Mark Petruska
In this episode Wynne Leon is with co-host Vicki Atkinson and writer and author, Mark Petruska and we're talking about love lessons.
Mark has us laughing about all the things that can go wrong when we put ourselves out there. And how that sometimes leaves us looking for the nearest exit.
We dig into a few of his funny dating stories to find the secret behind staying resilient on the trail to true love. And Mark treats us to the key that led him to his wife Tara.
As I shared a couple of my own misadventures as well as my own ambivalence about dating that I have these days, Mark reminds me that being on the fence is not where dreams are found.
Which leads us to the wonderful conclusion of this delightful episode where Mark shares some of his love advice that both rings true and is so well-said. And then we get Vicki, who just celebrated her 42nd wedding anniversary, to chime in with the secret she’s found for relationships.
This is a great episode about how misadventure leads us to love. We know you’ll love it. And another thing we 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 33 show notes
Mark’s Blog: Mark My Words
No Time for Kings by Mark Petruska - a fantastic eco-thriller
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
And if you'd like to be on our podcast or suggest someone else, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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
Episode 29: Accidental Philanthropists with Dr. Gerald Stein
In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host Vicki Atkinson and they are talking to Dr. Gerald Stein about how a promise he made, and kept, did a whole lot of good.
Dr. Stein tells us how the story began – a promise between 10 high school friends in 1963 to meet again on January 1, 2000. And when they kept that promise, it led to the great good luck of becoming accidental philanthropists.
We get to hear how the whole story unfolded – how the softball team ended up as a scholarship team. And Dr. Stein’s wonderful conclusion that “if you have enough confidence in who you are, and a door opens, you are more likely to walk through it.”
This is a great episode about how the power of friendship can be harnessed to make a difference in the world. This rousing story will have you remembering that one person can indeed make such a difference, especially when we keep our promises. I know you’ll love it. Dr. Gerald Stein's blog on WordPress: Dr. Gerald Stein
Episode 29 show notes
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 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
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.
Mark's blog: Mark My Words
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.
This is a great episode about taking books to market and all that comes with it and I know you’ll love it.
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
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
Lois' blog: Write Along with Me
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
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.
Episode 21: A Creative Life with Elizabeth Wickham
In this episode, Wynne Leon and Dr. Vicki Atkinson talk about living a creative life with Elizabeth Wickham. She tells us about growing up with a mom who allowed messes and was a creative spirit herself. After graduating with a degree in editorial journalism, Elizabeth regales us with stories from the PR firm where she learned to have great writing productivity and also met celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, Bob Hope and Rick Dees.
Vicki and I ooh-and-aah over Elizabeth’s long list of interesting writing projects including her weekly column for the most viewed swim website and feature pieces like one about young swimmers who were on deck when the 1973 Chilean coup took place.
We benefit from Elizabeth’s great wisdom about switching projects when stuck creatively – from writing, blogging, playing the flute, and back again. She also shared the book that inspired her blogging journey – The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
This is a great episode filled with wonderful stories from the delightful, inspirated and creative Elizabeth Wickham. We know you’ll love it.
Show notes: Episode 21 show notes on HoTM
E.A. Wickham's blog: bleuwater: thoughts about life from below the surface
Episode 20: The Art of the Interview with Dr. Gerald Stein
In this episode, Wynne Leon and co-host, Dr. Vicki Atkinson are with psychologist, historian, teacher and blogger, Dr. Gerald Stein.
We talk about the art of the interview. Dr. Stein draws on his extensive experience as a therapist but also as an expert witness to explain how you need to be aware of what’s been said, present to listen and help guide the conversation when asking and answering questions. He tells us how he’s prepared for interviews and what he’s done to make people comfortable. Dr. Stein wisely coaches us to save the hardest questions for last in the case they end the session.
We talk about interviewing family members and what a powerful experience that can be to provide answers and connection. And in the end of our time together, Dr. Stein gives us some perspective about life with a story about something extra.
This is a great episode filled with wonderful stories from the wise, experienced, funny, and insightful, Dr. Stein. We know you’ll love it.
Episode 20 Show Notes: The Art of the Interview
Episode 19: Long Distance Letters with Vicki and Wynne
In this episode, Wynne Leon and Dr. Vicki Atkinson talk about the most long distance of letters – the ones we write for our dearly departed.
We talk, sometimes through tears, about writing letters to our fathers after they had passed unexpectedly and the goodness of being able to share stories we’ve written down about them with our children. Vicki brings up the idea that we are a conduit between the older and younger generations, passing on stories and wisdom, especially for young ones who never get to meet their grandparents or were too young when they passed to remember them.
We also talk about being vulnerable to ask questions of our family members before they pass and honor that can be a difficult road depending on their receptivity. But by daring to be seen, we can also possibly benefit by the wonderful gift of exchanging great last lines to our beloveds before they pass.
As a note, we recorded this conversation while some work was being done on Vicki’s house. Please excuse the errant bang here and there. Despite the occasional knock, we know you’ll love this deep and meaningful conversation about writing to and about those we love the most.
Show notes: Episode 19 Long Distance Letters
Episode 18: No Time For Kings with Mark Petruska
In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host, Dr. Vicki Atkinson and writter, blogger, optimist and master manifester, Mark Petruska.
Manifester might not technically be a word but it’s great shorthand for how Mark wills things into reality. He explains how manifesting works hand-in-hand with optimism to fuel the adventurous changes he and his wife, Tara, have pursued in life.
We talk about his eco-thriller, No Time For Kings, and the one line he read in a newspaper that sparked the plot line. And even though Wynne questioned how Mark, with his humor and optimism, could write a dark and ruthless character like Drake in his novel, Mark tells us how fun it is to write the shadow side.
Mark reveals Jack London as his writing inspiration and since Mark has successfully manifested his writing career, we talk about how he went about writing and publishing his book.
This is a great optimism filled with the optimism and fun that comes when you write your own script. We know you’ll love it.
Guest post from Mark Petruska and show notes: Episode 18 show notes
Episode 17: Building a Base with Brian Hannon
In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host, Dr. Vicki Atkinson and colleague, writer and blogger Brian Hannon. We talk about what metrics are meaningful on the blogging journey and how to build a vibrant community.
Brian shares tips he learned as a newspaper reporter and how blogging differs from being a reporter in the rich conversation that can be sparked through comments. We share celebrity gossip – nah, just kidding, not really- but we do touch on holding space for our own growth, development and learning as we write.
We know you will love this episode full of the laughter and fun that comes from good friendships forged through blogging. Show notes: Episode 17 show notes
Episode 16: Nuggets of Kindness with Stuart Perkins
In this episode, Wynne Leon is with co-host, Dr. Vicki Atkinson and writer, blogger and master storyteller, Stuart Perkins.
Stuart shares with us a piece entitled A Nugget of Kindness, about a moment where he recalled the generosity of a stranger twenty years earlier and pays it forward. We take a deep dive into how both paying it forward and writing about it extends the gratitude we have for people who help us in our moment of need and also ties back to the wisdom of Stuart’s grandmother who taught that when you see a need, you fill it without caring who gets credit. We talk about how it doesn’t take much to be helpful to others because often something small for one person can make a difference to someone else.
The three of us also mine the other nuggets – the beautiful comments left by readers that serve to continue the cycle of kindness and inspiration. We know you’ll love this warm, feel-good episode of writing, wisdom and kindness.
Show notes: Episode 16 show notes
Episode 15: Writing into a Full and Balanced Life with Brenda Harrison
In this episode, Wynne and Vicki talk with about blogger and HR lecturer, Brenda Harrison, about Brenda’s inspiration for writing, traveling, and how blogging has brought balance to her work and life. Brenda tells us the inspiration for the name of her blog, Curiosities, Castles and Coffee Shops and we also discover how Brenda’ delightful and inspiring knack for growth led her through her journey from legal secretary, back to school, on as an HR lecturer and now to blogging. We explore how writing fuels a cycle of creativity in Brenda’s life where it is both the result of her explorations and also extends her journeys as she looks for interesting things to write about.
We know you will love this episode from a great blogger that shows how writing makes life richer.
Show notes: Episode 15 show notes
Brenda's blog: Curiosities, Castles, and Coffee Shops
Episode 14: Holding Space with Deirdre Wilcox
In this episode, Wynne Leon talks with meditation teacher, massage therapist and healer, Deirdre Wilcox, about how to hold space for others. It's the process of actively listening to others going through tough stuff with open regard. How do we do it effectively? What good does it do for the person we are holding space for?
We also talk about another favorite phrase that Wynne has gotten from Deirdre – “being parked in my small space.” That is to say, that space where everything and anything bugs us because our perspective is shut down. Deirdre gives some great tips on how to open back up to that expansive state where we don’t have to BE the irritations and pains that we are currently feeling.
After the last episode with Deirdre, a listener said it reminded her of the song, “Breathe” by Anna Nalik. Deirdre and Wynne talk about breath as the foundational tool of change.
In this episode there is also an outtake that we've tacked on at the end – but it is from the beginning of the conversation where Wynne tries to wrangle Deirdre but she is just too effusive and frankly, a hugely funny pain, so we have to start over. Show notes can be found on the HoTM site: Episode 14 show notes
Deirdre's website can be found at Deirdre Therapeutics
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
Episode 12: On Storytelling with Stuart M. Perkins
In this episode, Vicki and Wynne talk with writer, blogger, and master storyteller, Stuart Perkins, about the dare that got him to start his blog, Storyshucker, and the long line of family story-tellers that are part of the foundation of his craft.
We reflect on the nervousness of publishing a first post and the joy of finding out that writing down our stories helps us to find out how alike we all are. Stuart tells us more about his grandmother, Nannie, who is a repeat character in his writing as a core of the big family roots of his childhood.
Vicki and Wynne ooh and aah over Stuart's ability to deliver last great lines and Stuart reminds us to write what we know and keep at it when it comes to getting published! This is a great episode celebrating all the wonderful things stories do for us – connecting us to family, pride, history, and colorful stories about growing up.
Show Notes are at: Episode 12: On Storytelling with Stuart M. Perkins
Stuart's blog: Storyshucker
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
Episode 10: The Power of Intuition with Deirdre Wilcox
In this episode, Wynne talks with healer, meditation teacher, artist, all-around delightful and amazing human, Deirdre Wilcox.
We talk about Deirdre’s journey to become a healer, how she used her time undergoing treatment for breast cancer to integrate all that she’d been taught about the mind-body-spirit. We also delve into the power of our intuition and why we mistrust it, why we need to place meditation up there on the list of daily habits like flossing, the danger of going shopping after meditation class, and how transformation might be exactly what we need to live our deepest and best lives. At the very end of our conversation, we left in an outtake where Wynne offer herself up as an example of how mulishly resistant humans can be when it comes to tackling things that could make our lives better.
Show notes can be found at the HoTM website: Episode 10: The Power of Intuition
Deirdre Wilcox can be found at: Deirdre Therapeutics (deirdrewilcox.com)
Episode 9: The Audacity to Believe with Mitch Teemley
In this episode of the Sharing the Heart of the Matter podcast, Vicki Atkinson and Wynne Leon talk with Mitch Teemley - a storyteller (writer, filmmaker, composer, public speaker) with the audacity to believe others might actually want to read, watch or hear the things he comes up with.
And that audacity has led him in a life of great courage, conviction, and productivity. In addition to his very active blog, he’s written, directed, and produced two feature films, The Healing River and Notzilla. He also a sought after public speaker.
Do you need to have read or seen his work to enjoy this podcast? We know you will love it if you have – and believe you will love it even if you haven’t. Mitch’s wit and wisdom with a message comes through loud and clear.
Mitch’s Blog: https://mitchteemley.com
Episode 8: Expressive Writing
In this episode, Vicki Atkinson, Brian Hannon and Wynne Leon talk about how writing helps us think and more than once and maybe even get us out of a jam or two. We, the overly-absorbed, over-thinkers who swirl and retread in our own infinity loops of what-ifs and quandaries, and then can hopefully write our way out of those loops.
We talk about being part of the writing community in general and the team that makes up the Heart of the Matter. Folks who enjoy telling stories…swapping giggles and epiphanies…all with an eye toward inspiration and greater good. It's podcast time to shoot the breeze about the compulsion to create and to tell stories.
Show notes can be found at the Heart of the Matter site at Episode 8: I Write...Because I Wonder
Episode 7: Grow Damn It!
In this episode, Wynne is with author, Cheryl Oreglia, and they’re talking about Cheryl's newly released book Grow Damn It! Also, they talk about treasuring the life we have, asking our loved ones the most important questions before they go, and what makes the ride worthwhile.
From car accidents, car dealership negotiation, caring for family, grief, and being a good sport, Cheryl writes such an evocative account of life that brings out the best while being totally real – and very funny. She weaves the magic of an author that knows herself, has the guts to tackle feelings, and can wrap things in words to bring it all together.
Show notes can be found on the HoTM site: https://sharingtheheartofthematter.com/2023/03/03/episode-7-grow-damn-it/
Amazon link to Grow Damn It!: The Feeding and Nurturing of Life (if you love the book, please leave a review - it really helps authors)
Cheryl's blog Living in the Gap can be found at https://cheryloreglia.blog and she can be found on Instagram and Twitter @cheryloreglia
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.
Episode 5: Fathers, Sons & Flannel
In this episode, Vicki Atkinson talks with writer Brian Hannon about memories of his father, inspired by his father's favorite apparel, flannel shirts. As Vicki aply summarizes - Writing about family is fraught with snares and trepidation as many of us walk the line between speaking our truth and avoiding disrespect. My friend Brian of the ‘Writing from the Heart with Brian’ blog and Heart of the Matter recently wrote about his father…sharing a series of scenes from his life with his dad, told from the perspective of his father’s most beloved piece of apparel: a flannel shirt.
Find the show notes plus more writing from Vicki and Brian on The Heart of the Matter: https://sharingtheheartofthematter.com
Brian's personal blog is Writing from the Heart with Brian
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:
Step 9 - Jack's play released as a radio drama in podcast form https://tinyurl.com/Step-9-NNR or search New Normal Rep Step 9 wherever you podcast
Jack's theater company: New Normal Rep
For info on Jack as a writing coach and his plays: https://jackcanforawriter.com
To follow Jack on Twitter and Instagram: @jackcanfora
Episode 3: On Mountaineering, Martial Arts, Overcoming Challenges and Motherhood
In this episode, Wynne talks with Betsy Kerekes, blogger, published author, wife, mom, and martial arts practitioner about how to tackle hard things with humor and grace. Which seems to be a specialty for Betsy - she does it with parenting and now for martial arts too. In the great stories Betsy tells about learning, getting injured, and keeping up the practice, there are so many ways to be inspired by her grit all wrapped up in a lovely package.
The show notes can be found on the HoTM site: Podcast Episode 3: On Mountaineering, Martial Arts, Overcoming Challenges and Parenting
Here are links to Betsy's blog and books:
Blog: Motherhood and Martial Arts (formerly Parenting is Funny)
Book on Amazon: Be a Happier Parent or Laughing Trying
Book on Amazon: 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage
Book on Amazon: 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person
Episode 2: Finding My Father's Faith
Vicki and Wynne talking about Wynne's book Finding My Father's Faith and all the obstacles we encounter on the way to writing about family. Wynne talks about when it feels daunting to break with the status quo and broach subjects where we do things differently. But most of all, we talk about listening to that inner voice that tells us to get started and the incredible gifts that come with it.
The book can be found on Amazon: Finding My Father's Faith: Leon, Wynne: 9781516803347: Amazon.com: Books
The Sharing the Heart of the Matter blog and website is The Heart of the Matter – A place where we write and talk about inspirations…our journey to discover what matters most. (sharingtheheartofthematter.com)
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.