gloriaThe biggest news is that my 3rd book, the story of my husband’s youth during WWII in Indonesia, is coming out soon. Darkness in Paradise will be available within the next month or so. It is being published by Archway Publishing and the final galley has just been reviewed.

I have been busy with life stories and have recently completed several for hospice patients. I spoke recently to the Pastoral Care Academy in Stillwater about writing the hospice life stories, and after a quick tally, discovered that I’ve done more than 60 of them over the past five years. I am thrilled to be able to provide this service for the families of Lakeview hospice patients.

I will be appearing soon on SPNN TV with Nadia Giordana to talk about the importance of writing our memoirs, as well as sharing some ideas of how to do it. Capturing memories is important to me. I believe that we need to remember our past to do well in the present. The past is the root in all of us, and it’s important for the younger generation to understand where we came from.

Memories of Lake Elmo, published in 2013, is the history of a small Minnesota town, written as the result of more than 120 interviews of local residents. I have done a number of speaking events with neighborhood groups about the book since then, with some still scheduled.

In my “spare time,” I continue to do proofreading and editing for others. http://www.gloriavan.com/#!books/cnec

Can’t wait to see the SPNN episode! Thanks Gloria


Dancing to Your Heartbeat

The following is an excerpt from Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Women:


To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep stepping.

Chinese Proverb

Deborah Lysholm

“Deborah Lysholm, a dancer, prayed she could outrun the bullets as her husband chased her outside on a blustery April night in 1992 aiming a rifle at her. After 23 years of a terror filled marriage, she knew she had to leave him–no matter how much she feared and believed his threats that he would find her and kill her. Instead of becoming a statistic, she summoned unbelievable courage to start a new life for herself and her college-aged daughter, Kristen.”

excerpt from Deborah’s book Dancing To My Heartbeat

Dance has been an integral part of my life since childhood, and with each passing year, became increasingly instrumental in defining who I am. Striving for a career in dance, more specifically building a performing arts center, was my main focus.

Since things from the heart speak loudest to me, I wanted and needed a career that summon absolute zeal.

My dream flourished when my daughter and I opened our own performing arts center, Heartbeat Studios January 1998. I came alive at that moment because a new life was truly beginning for both of us. Making a living doing what I love to do is simply exhilarating!

In January 2013, Heartbeat celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. [Some] Milestones in those years include:

  • Being selected as the only dance studio to travel to London to represent the United States at the 400th anniversary celebration of settlers sailing from Kent, England to Jamestown, Virginia.
  • Developing a successful dance/movement program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD.
  • Maturing to a full-fledged performing arts center offering classes to 300-plus students each year in dance (ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, modern, break dance, flamenco, dance line), acting and singing.

If a woman asked me for advice about achieving success, I’d say:

  • Define what success is to you. Pull the curtain back to see what success will look like. … Always do your homework to ensure every step or decision you make is done with eyes wide open. Embrace what you do, not only with pride, but with undying passion. Love the ride.
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions or seek a mentor. Talk to many people and filter out what you know will be useful to your endeavor.
  • Being fearless and having the ability to dream big will set things in motion.
  • Be a good listener, even more than a good talker because the more information you take in, the more you will be prepared to pursue your goal.

Key to Success:

Not only have a clear vision of where you are headed, but also the humility to acknowledge there is no end to the “achieving success” process because the journey might take you in directions you never thought possible.


For more information about Deborah:


Facebook author page, Deborah Lysholm


This post is excerpted from Joan Kennedy’s Positive Support Letter 1996:

There is a Native American fable about a youth who took an egg from an eagle’s nest and put it in a chicken yard. The egg hatched and the eagle grew up among the chickens, pecking in the ground for food just as they did, scratching in the dust as he watched the others do.

One day he looked up and saw an eagle flying high above him.

He felt his wings tremble and said to one of the chickens, “I wish I could do that.”

“Don’t be a fool,” the chicken said. “Only an eagle can fly so high.”

Feeling ashamed of his longing, the eagle went back to scratching in the dirt — never again to question what he believed to be his assigned place on earth.


What if the eagle had refused to allow someone else to define his potential? Suppose he had sensed his uniqueness, broke free, opened his powerful wings, and soared into the heavens?

Ask yourself the question: “Do I allow others to define my potential, or determine what is possible for me?”

When we put limitations on ourselves, we don’t allow ourselves into the boundless realm of creative thought, where we can envision a wonderful experience, a better job, a larger income. Our pattern of thought binds us to lives of limitation and mediocrity.

Before any real change can take place in your life, you need to search within yourself, become aware of who you are and of what is possible. You will never know who you really are until you deal with the person you think you are.

It’s all a matter of perception.

It’s an accepted fact that the limitations we feel, the goals we set for ourselves, our whole approach to life, is strongly influenced by the image we have of ourselves. And so, before you can take your rightful place, you must alter the perception you have of yourself because anything you deeply believe in, is your truth.

To change yourself or your conditions, change your beliefs about them. You can begin to acquire a high self-image when you accept your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Creating a new self-image will release your talents and abilities. With a high regard for yourself, not only will you feel more confident, but you will feel free to be yourself…and to express yourself totally.

In Gary Zukav’s book on the subject of new physics, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, he says,

“Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends upon what we think. What we think depends upon what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.”

We need to always be aware of what we believe to be true, because through our beliefs, our reality is formed.

Remember, the moment you alter your perception of yourself and your future, both you and your future begin to change.

P.S. “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” –Thomas A. Edison