You’re Fired (26) A young man got fired at my day job recently. It was his first “real” job. I’m sure he felt defeated, but if I could have talked to him, this is what I would have said…

I knew from the moment I heard your celebrity name and saw your chiseled face that your light shines too bright for this solemn place. You are young, full of life and energy – not yet resigned to a life of mediocrity in a dead-end job where you cross off the days on your wall calendar counting days until your sentence ends and wish your week away along side TGIF co-workers who long ago abandoned their dreams and think this is as good as it gets, in this life anyway.

Learn the lessons from your brief time here because the test will come again and again. There will be many failures along the winding road that leads to where you are meant to be, where you thrive, where you feel you belong, where you make a positive difference in the world. Use every perceived failure as a stepping stone to success.

Take it from someone with enough regrets to fill the Grand Canyon because she settled for “steady” pay and sub-par benefits while her dreams passed by like clouds in the sky…

Go ahead and let the door hit you on the way out as a reminder to never settle for a life of mediocrity, but instead to do the things that light up your soul. Consider yourself blessed.

Write on.

Advertisements (25)

I saw the most unusual thing on my way home tonight. Something I haven’t seen in years. Something that made me feel a bit giddy inside at the memory of doing it myself once upon a time.

At first, I was most curious about what could possibly make a teenager walk on the side of the road with his head down. Was he depressed? Was he looking for Pokemon? Everywhere you look these days, you see people with their nose in their cell phone instead of paying attention to the real world right in front of them. Perhaps the phone provides an escape from the drama, doom and gloom that sometimes feels like it is closing in on our sanity. But, there used to be another escape, one I miss seeing and doing, one I was reminded of today…

As I got closer to the teen, I could see he was reading a book! I wanted to stop and take a picture and ask him what he was reading. I was so curious to know what he was reading! You know it has to be an interesting book if you can’t even put it down to walk on the side of a busy highway.

As dangerous as it is to walk without looking where you are going, especially with so many drivers texting and being distracted by their phone as they drive, seeing that kid reading a book that he couldn’t put down made my heart purr.

Write on.


Welcome to Oz (23)

The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie. When I was a kid, I loved the technicolor and the idea of getting swept up in a storm to visit a magical place. As an adult, I appreciate the subtle message of the movie and I see it in action every day.

Many of us are looking to the great and powerful OZ, whoever that may be, to help us achieve our dreams when the ability to make it happen resides within us. We just have to believe in ourselves as much as we believe in Oz. After all, Oz turned out to be human with just as many insecurities and flaws as the rest of us.

So click your heals and skip along the adventurous, sometimes scary, road to make whatever it is you are searching for in someone else come alive in you!

Write on.




Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. ~ Jim Rohn

It took me years to understand that discipline can be a good thing. As a child that was “disciplined” to the extreme on many occasions I grew up hating the word and wanting to distance myself as far away from it as I could. The mere mention of the word made me defensive. Discipline represented a negative, master-slave, controlling, manipulative, walk-on-eggshells obedient existence and I wanted no part of it once I escaped that kind of dominance. That distorted definition of discipline has cost me many opportunities of health, wealth and happiness over the years.

Fortunately, after extensive personal development study, I learned to look at the other side of the discipline coin and change my association of the word from harsh to helpful. I now know that discipline is the key to success.

Peek into the routine of any successful person and you will see that self discipline plays a major role in their success. The runner who gets up at 5 a.m. to train – rain or shine, the musician who passes up partying with friends to practice for hours on end, the entrepreneur who works 12+ hours a day growing their business, the author who writes daily whether they feel like it or not…

It’s not rocket science or luck that creates olympic athletes, award-winning musicians, multi-millionaires, best-selling authors, or any success – it’s discipline!

Write on.


Back Talk (21)

It was beautiful outside today but inside my mind a storm was brewing. My nature is quiet and peaceful, but when too many negative things happen at once, something goes haywire in my brain and I feel like a volcano about to erupt. Usually, I can get control of it, but today wasn’t one of those days. It seems like once you let that one thought through that says I’m having a crappy day, the Universe conspires to confirm it by releasing a meteor shower of more crap.

I am a peacemaker and when my environment is chaotic without any sense of control, the lava flows. My calm demeanor turns to angst. My smile turns upside down and when mama’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy! My quiet, flower-child self turns into a drill sargeant barking complaints and commands to regain order in the household.

Am I the only one who can pick up after themselves or the dog who insists on relieving himself inside at random places (like my grandson’s original one-of-a-kind painting of Einstein) even when he is taken outside to potty multiple times a day and has a puppy pad? Am I the only one who can do laundry or cook? Am I the only one who can run errands? Am I the only one who can work to pay the bills? Am I an enabler who has bred a sense of entitlement by my passive personality? Those thoughts were clanging into each other in my head when my IP training kicked in…

BREATHE I tell myself. Take a deep breath and find something to be grateful for. It was pretty hard at first because my mind was on a roll confirming my “bad mood” by naming more reasons to justify my frustration.

What are you grateful for? My coaching self asks.

I just don’t feel the love today. Lord give me strength to deal with everything.

One thing. Find just one thing.

Fine. Whatever. I say to to my coach self like a rebellious teenager (that I am being reintroduced to since taking my nieces in to raise a few months ago). I’m grateful the sun is going down and it’s cooling off outside. I’m grateful this day is almost over!

The sun. Yes. It is cooling off outside. You are cooling down inside too. Feel it?

Thoughts become things,” I hear my mentor Mike Dooley say in that positive part of my mind conditioned by years of personal development.

Okay, yes I am a bit calmer, but you know what would really cool me down? A McDonald’s sweet tea and a Mocha frappe. I have a $1.55 in change and five McCafe points!

You realize that’s over 80 grams of sugar? My skinny self buried beneath layers of inflamed adipose tissue says.

Yeah, well I need something to put the fire out.

Try water. You know your moodiness could be caused by dehydration!

Water isn’t touching the flame today baby.

The happy-go-lucky side concedes this round. Sometimes, you have to pick your battles. Some days aren’t wrapped up with a sweet ending like a sitcom. Fortunately, a day is only 24 hours and HOPE for a brighter tomorrow is hard wired in my brain.

Write on.





Breaking The Cycle


Break The Cycle Volume III – RECOVERY

Writing gave me an outlet that released me from the prison of my past and enabled me to make the journey from victim to victor. ~ Kathy Chaffin Gerstorff

Before I published the first Break the Cycle book I just wanted to write my “secrets” down to get them out of my head because keeping it inside ate away at my psyche like Pacman. Writing turned out to be very cathartic for me. It was like a dam of pent up emotions broke free as the words poured onto the page. I cursed and cried, but kept writing as I processed my feelings. Writing paved the way for me to forgive and move on from the past which up to that point was easily triggered in my memory and led to a tidal wave of emotion which often included irritability, uncontrollable crying, withdrawal or binge eating – sometimes all at once. It felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster that would last for a few hours to a couple weeks. Writing in my journal released the pressure valve and let off steam which gave me a way to control my emotions instead of my emotions controlling me.

After a few years of writing, I had enough poems and stories to fill a book. At first I didn’t dare think of publishing what I wrote. The last thing I wanted to do was to hurt my mother who was a victim of abuse too. But, somewhere along the way writing became bigger than me. I felt called and compelled to my core to share my poems and short stories with the world even though I knew only a few people would read them. If it helped even one person break free from mental torment and enabled them to get control of their life instead of continuing to be a victim, then that would mean my suffering was not in vain, a greater good could come of it. From that thought and hope, Break The Cycle Books was born.

I invited other child abuse survivors to share their stories too because I wanted them to feel the same freedom that writing gave me. I also wanted to give back to the people who helped me but I didn’t know how to do that. How do you repay the people who saved your life? No amount of money or thank yous can cover that. And they didn’t expected anything in return for helping me. The best way I could think to repay them was to pay it forward. So I decided to donate the books proceeds to organizations that help abused, neglected and at-risk kids.

Books sales have been slow, but sales are not the most important thing. It would be wonderful to help more organizations, but my main goal with publishing Break The Cycle books is to help child abuse survivors know they are not alone and that writing may help provide a release valve on the pain of their past so they too can make the journey from victim to victor.

Write on.

Kathy G

ROCKY The Junk Yard Dog BALBOA


Rocky “The Junk Yard Dog” Balboa

Stacy Savage, a poet and friend, loves to write what I call CAUSE POETRY which is writing that in addition to entertaining and/or inspiring the reader, benefits charities. I also love Cause Poetry. It is my favorite writing to do. Stacy and I collaborated on a nature (another passion we have in common) writing project a few years ago Naturally Yours that benefited a fund that enables elementary kids to visit state parks to learn about nature and wildlife.

Stacy has created a Facebook page where she hosts POETRY CONTESTS FOR A CAUSE. Her latest EARTH DAY writing project is near and dear to my heart. The cause she is helping with this contest is Wildlife In Need. This organization had a devastating fire in January that resulted in loss of wildlife, structures and supplies. They started a GoFundMe campaign to rebuild their sanctuary.

I know how it feels to lose precious animals in a fire. In August 2014 we lost our two dogs and angelfish in a fire that made national news and left us with only the clothes on our back. So, when Stacy mentioned this project, I was all in. I made a donation and wrote the poem below in honor of Rocky, our “junk yard dog” that we miss everyday.

If you like to write poetry, I encourage you to enter the Earth Day writing contest and check out Stacy’s Poetry for a Cause page.

Write on.

Kathy G


Rocky “The Junk Yard Dog” Balboa

I loved to watch our miniature
American Eskimo Spitz
with his flowing white cape
play with kids and chase snakes
through the field.

We called him our junk yard dog
because as soon as he got home
from being groomed,
he would roll around
in the dirt like a pig.

He liked to hang out
at our automotive parts shop
and would jump in any car
with an open window. Then hide,
hoping to go for a ride
before he was noticed.

He was small, but acted
which is why we named him
after the fictional fighter
Rocky Balboa.

Tragically, Rocky died
in a devastating fire,
but his spirit lives on.

I think of him often
running wild and free.

He was the kind of dog
humans should aspire to be…

Caring, protective, devoted,
fun-loving, adventurous,
magic moment maker.

I miss you my furry friend.
Someday I will see you again.