"The choices we make change
the story of our life." ©

Monday, July 03, 2006


Connie Pombo - Guest Blogger for the Week!

Day One of Seven
July 3, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Connie Pombo

First of all, thank you, Allison, for the opportunity to be a guest blogger on GAUT. I have so much enjoyed reading all the prolific posts of the “bloggers” before me!

A brief introduction is in order because I’m sure by now you’re saying to yourself, Connie, who? Here’s my attempt at being “brief”: I'm an empty-nester mom (don’t worry—it’s just a term—“once a mom always a mom”), wife (to my college sweetheart, Mark), author, speaker, and founder of Women's Mentoring Ministries.

My life at age 50 is full to overflowing . . . most days! It’s certainly not the life I envisioned for myself—thanks to my U-Turn—but a life that I’m “passionate” about. You’ll be hearing that word a lot this week! When I’m not speaking or writing, I’m traveling. In fact, I just picked up a book for my husband (really for me!), titled: 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz, and I’m checking them off just as fast as I can!

After having lived in Italy for six years ("la dolce vita”), we returned to the states to “finish” our family. We have two almost grown sons: Jeremy (a high school social studies teacher), and Jonathan (a sophomore at Grove City College).

I’m fairly new to the world of writing (I pursued my passion of speaking first!). As I have learned from many authors/speakers, there is no right or wrong way to begin—just follow your passion! With that being said, my list of writing credits include: Conversations on Faith by Insight Publishing; Trading Ashes for Roses: From Pain to Passion, and contributing author to God Allows U-Turns for Women: The Choices We Make Change the Story of Our Life.

In the July/August 2006 issue of “Coping” magazine, my article “Living Life Passionately: Portrait of a Survivor” will appear. It’s the story of my life—surviving cancer and finding my passion! Sometimes our greatest tragedy in life can lead us to our greatest passion, and in my case an amazing "U-Turn."

After that “brief” introduction, I would like to ask you a question: Are you passionate about what you are doing? If you’re a speaker or writer, I would hope you would respond with an exuberant “yes”!

But did you realize that 84% of Americans dislike their career or profession? And a whopping 63% dread getting out of bed on Monday morning because they dislike what they do! I was amazed—shocked really—to realize most of us are not living in our “passion” zone. Since reading those startling statistics, I have adopted a new policy when going to the dentist. Before they start drilling, I ask: “Are you passionate about your profession?” If there is even the slightest hesitation, I vanish!

Last month the “U-Turn Sisters of PA”—as we like to call ourselves: Susan Kelly Skitt, Carolyn Ruch, and Tammy Gehman and I were at a GAUT book signing event at Barnes & Noble in North Wales, PA (see Allison’s post on Friday, June 23). It was an easy two-hour drive from my doorstep. That is until I met up with the tollbooth attendant (if you’re wondering, most of these folks are in the 84%--see above). I missed my exit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (not good), and made a U-Turn (really not good), and didn’t have a tollbooth ticket when I exited (unforgivable!). When I feebly tried to explain my predicament to the tollbooth attendant, she didn’t want to hear my pitiful excuse. She asked for my driver’s license and a "quarter" (I’m still not sure what that was for?), and exited her booth to write down my license plate number. (I was just a little disappointed that she didn’t ask me first because it’s one of the few things--besides my phone number--that I actually have memorized!) When I tried to ask for directions, she murmured, “I’m on my break!” I was close to tears and pleaded, “I need some HELP!” To that she responded, “Are you raising your voice? Do I need to call a State Trooper?” For those of you who are wondering, I have this strange habit of “raising” my voice a few decibels when I’m lost, scared, and dangerously close to being late for a book signing! I tried to imagine how the headlines would read in the “Philadelphia Inquirer” the next morning: “U-Turn Author Arrested at Tollbooth Plaza for Raising Her Voice!”

After I drove off (without my driver’s license), I thought, I bet that tollbooth attendant really dreads getting out of bed on Monday morning!

Ten years ago, I was in her “booth”—dreading going to work every morning, and I didn’t have a clue as to what the word “passionate” meant. But then I hit a “Dead End” sign on a moonless night on a country back road in Lancaster County, PA. That night changed the way I would live the rest of my life!

Tomorrow, we’ll start at the “end” which is really the “beginning.” Stay tuned!

I’ll close with this thought: "Be careful when you put off the enjoyment of life until the time is right. Before you know it, the right time can change into a lost opportunity." —Author unknown

Living Life Passionately!

Connie Pombo
My Blog: Passionate Living!
I can't wait to read day two! You've already got me hooked!
Sounds great Connie! You really amaze me! I hope I can be like you when I grow up! :) I sure missed you today at our CM meeting!
Blessings today and forever,
Don't put off...I was doing so many "wonderful" things...ministry, writing,book promotion, creating, that my family was taking a hit. I knew it was time for serious re-evaluation when my wonderful husband said, "Well, I don't mind being number 18 on your list, if I know that is where I am consistently, it is hoping for more and building my expectations up that is hard."

BIG time out. SoI have been pruning, which is painful, by the way. Does the tree hurt when pruned and the sap runs out?

But yesterday at church, a friend said, "Kathy, something is different, you have a peace about you."

I am not putting off any longer, just heeding God's call to align my priorities as they should be.

Connie, I can't wait to read your stuff all week! And promise to read mine in October.

Thank God for limitless U-Turn opportunities.

Kathy Pride

WInning the Drug War at home
Kudos, Connnie, for a terrific post.

I am living passionately, actually, sometimes too passionately. That's how I got myself over commmitted, over extended and headed towards collapse.

Despite purging possessions and pruning commitments, my day today taught me I still have a ways to go.

I had six kids over for a sleepover last night, and I am not in a competition for "Mom of the Year". Then this morning I was doing laundry for a friend who just moved to the area, has five kids including nine year old twins who are challenged in the staying dry at night department, and she doesn't have a W&D yet...

Then I ran a couple of errands, and got home, and the fact that there had been a sleepover last night started taking its toll on my angelic daughters, who started to sprout horns before my very eyes...

So off we went to the pool, via the ice cream place after they had pulled it together, but they were talking incessantly and I had a glazed over, "calgon take me away" blank look on my face, when I was suddenly jarred back in to reality. I had backed up (rather forcefully) into a large cement block holding a lamp post in the middle of the parking lot, which caused my daughter's ice cream cone to flop into her lap which was admittedly a bigger crisis than the scratches on my bumper...

Oh, and did I mention that I am leaving for Denver and ICRS via NYC in two days and haven't packed a thing, and my girls are coming with me and staying with friends while I'm at ICRS?

Oh, so where was I...Living passionately, replacing doing with being and not allowing life to pass me or my family by.

Love Ya,

Kathy Pride
Wow, Connie! What I love about you is you live like you write: with passion!!! And look, your tollbooth experience is making headlines on the U-Turn blog! I'll never forget your face as you dashed in the front door of Barnes & Noble that day with your gift bags (author survivor kits) for Carolyn, Tammy and I and a beautiful U-Turn gift basket for a "lucky customer": it was a look of sheer determination. Despite frantic beginnings, the day made a U-Turn for the best as we laughed and shared together in the Lord. God is in control even when things don't work out the way we think they should, right? I'll never forget what one of the store clerks said as she approached our table. She said, "You girls are having so much fun, I just had to buy a book to know what you are about." What a great testimony: Christians (who have faced adversity) still having fun! I can't wait to read the rest of your blogs. But alas, I'm off with my family for a two day vacation. I'll catch up with you soon, hopefully not at the TOLLBOOTH!
Hi Allison,

This has been so much fun! Thanks again for this wonderful opportunity. I'm glad you got hooked. Stay tuned, there are more "tollbooth" tales to come! Have a great time at CBA and take lots of pictures! I wish I could be there, but Canada is calling me!


Hi Tonya,

You are so sweet! Can I be like you when I get older?! I miss CM too; I'll be back on track soon!


Hi Kathy,

I hear you about the "list"! I have a new trick: I keep "get well" cards on the mantel, so if someone unexpected comes by they think I'm "sick" and unable to clean! But the dishes and laundry still need to get done! It won't work too well with hubby though!



I'm posting on Friday about "Don't Let Your Passion Pass you 'bye': How to Avoid Burnout!

It's so easy to do! It's a snowball effect, but a wise "former" author shared with me what she did--it might surprise you!

Stay tuned!



P.S. Of course, I'll post on your month--read 6/5/06--Day 4!
Hi Susan,

I'm up for another "tollbooth" event; I've almost fully recovered from the last one! You'll have to read Friday (Day 5)--the tollbooth extravaganza! Oh my! I can't wait to hear about your vacation! Talk with you soon!


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