Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Creative Energies Combined…









This past weekend I hosted a writing conference featuring New York Times best selling author Jennifer Lauck.  The fabulous author of the memoir Blackbird and three other amazing books.  The women who attending Jennifer’s three day intensive workshop may have been exhausted after these three days, but they walked away with so much. 

I first met Jennifer when she was our keynote speaker at the Second Annual Women Inspiring Women Conference last January.  She wowed the audience and the friendship that has developed is one that I cherish. 

I love Jennifer like a sister and I am grateful for the working relationship we both enjoy with each other. 

On Friday night another incredible force to be reckoned with, Maggie Downs joined us for dinner.  Maggie is in the MFA program at UCR and will be writing one incredibly fabulous book in the near future.  Being surrounded by these two (tall) and incredibly talented creative women was so much fun. 

Listening to their stories and sharing a bottle (or two) of wine was a beautiful way to spend an evening in Palm Springs.

If you missed out on Jennifer’s workshop, no worries as she will be presenting more amazing classes next April. 

Have you been inspired lately and if so by who? 

Are you looking to get involved in some great workshops, stop and take a look at the class offerings I will be presenting this next month.  Workshops are being offered on Tuesdays, Wednesday evenings and Thursdays. 

Coming this Saturday, November 3rd is a workshop at Heritage Palms Country Club from 10-2 entitled Finding the You in Your Writing.  The cost of the Saturday class is $65.00 which includes all workshop materials and lunch.  Email me for more information at

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Understanding One Another…

The name of my business in the bay area was TLC Educational Center.  I ran this business for 10 years.  I developed curriculum for students in grades K-8.  The main focus of my business was dedicated to working with students to improve their writing.  I loved what I did, and never would have dreamed I would leave such a great place.

A little over three years ago I made the decision to leave my business and create a new business.  I decided to keep the TLC as a part of my business name because not only are they my initials, but it is what I bring each day to my students.

I will now be starting my third year of teaching this fall here and I am often asked why I have been so successful in starting a new business where I didn’t know one person in the middle of a terrible economic collapse.

As I examine why I am still in business while others have closed shop it is precisely that I live by my initials.  I bring TLC to those who are wanting to share their stories but don’t know how.  I bring an understanding to them and a kind word.  A hug and a smile goes a long way.  Because I know what it is like to feel the pain of memories of our lives I think it makes me more understanding.  I am confident that those who come to my workshops will find exactly what they are looking for.  I have seen friendships formed and hurts healed.

Moving to the desert hasn’t been easy, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  The things I have learned in these last three years are priceless.  The beautiful people who have become my students and friends are the best teachers in the world!

I look forward to sharing a new season with all of you!

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Guest blog by UCLA Study on Friendship Among Women

UCLA Study On Friendship Among Women

An alternative to fight or flight

©2002 Gale Berkowitz

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It’s a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research—most of it on men—upside down. Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible, explains Laura Cousin Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study’s authors. It’s an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just fight or flight; In fact, says Dr. Klein, it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is release as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the fight or flight response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone—which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress—seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic “aha” moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded, says Dr. Klein. When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something.The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the “tend and befriend” notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. There’s no doubt, says Dr. Klein, that friends are helping us live longer.

In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.

Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidants was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight.

And that’s not all. When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend and confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate. Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That’s a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls’ and Women’s Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). The following paragraph is, in my opinion, very, very true and something all women should be aware of and NOT put our female friends on the back burners.

Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women, explains Dr. Josselson. We push the m right to the back burner. That’s really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they’re with other women. It’s a very healing experience.

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The Fountain of Youth has been Discovered!


I have just returned from a trip to the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  On my travels I taught an amazing group of women that if I am not mistaken have discovered the Fountain of Youth.  This group of women (many of them have been married over 50 years, some even 60 years!) was one of the most amazing groups that I have ever taught.  Not only were they energetic and fun but so youthful!  I was literally shocked when some of them shared their ages.   Some of these women have been friends for over 50 years.  The love and friendship they share warmed my heart.  As I taught and listened to them I was struck by how beautiful each of them were.  One of them women (over 80 years old) has been to Africa 3 times-in the last 4 years!!  I left the workshop feeling so blessed that I was able to be in their presence and experience what a lifetime of friendship looks like.  I don’t know what they are drinking, but I would love to bottle it up and take it home with me!  Today in your writing examine your friendships.  If you are lucky enough to have friendships that have survived through the decades, consider yourself very fortunate!  There is nothing like making new friends, but the treasure comes really with those friends who you have “grown up” with!  So here’s to all those amazing women in the Bellevue, Washington area.  I look forward to the next time our paths meet again!  (Of course Courtney has nothing to do with this blog except for the fact that she won’t leave my side since I have returned, so I thought I would include her as well!)  I think I see a smile on her face!

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Oh, the choices we make…

This morning I was thinking about all of the opportunities we have to make choices.  Some of the choices we have may be easy, such as a simple selection of white or wheat, apple juice or orange juice, biking or hiking?  But other choices life brings us are often harder.  Yesterday I wrote about our friendships and sometimes with those friendships we have to choose when to savor and when to release.  As I have been focusing on relationships and the friendships of my lifetime, there have been times that I think I may have let go of a friendship too soon and on the other hand held on to one that I should have released. Sometimes these choices can be a catalyst to change in our lives.  In one of my session one classes I talk about what do you hold on to and what seems to hold on to you.  That is a great question to think about, are there some decisions you need to make about releasing yourself from a situation or releasing someone who needs to move on?  I have been very blessed to have so many close friends to at this time in my life.  I call them high caliber friends as they tend to bring out the best in me.  I can be myself and they support me and lift me up.  BUT…I wouldn’t have these great friends if I would have held on to other relationships that didn’t serve me. 

Today in your writing I want you to dive deep into your subconscious and think about the choices you have made regarding the friendships of  your lifetime.  When did you make a choice to change a friendship?  Have there been times when the choice was made for you by circumstances in your life?   Examine your friendships and see how you can be the best possible friend.  Friends are like colors, some of my friends are a beautiful blue, some are a hot pink and others may be a calming beige.  All my friends serve different purposes in my life and all are an essential part of what makes me uniquely me.  Spend some time today checking out your friends and make the choice to be who you need to be and make sure your friends are worthy of YOU!

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
Wendy Price, Palm Desert, CA

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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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