Welcome to the Well

Welcome to the well.  Sit back, breathe deeply, relax and be refreshed!  This page is intended to be a place to gain and share insights into this sometimes crazy, sometimes wonderful, usually messy but always blessed life we live.  This is an environment rooted in respect for one another, where we can be transparent with each other, encourage each other and accept ourselves and each other where we are in this moment.  I am a follower of Christ, and this will be clear at times.  But those who do not identify as Christian are every bit as welcome as those who do, and will be treated with kindness and compassion.  Again, welcome to the well!cropped-cropped-cropped-dreamstimemedium_14466151.jpg

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Celebrate it ALL!

Goodness knows, we all go through seasons when life just seems to stink. Sometimes it’s a day, sometimes it’s a whole week, sometimes it’s months. Sometimes the circumstances are within our control, sometimes it’s hormones, and sometimes it’s the result of the words or actions of the boss, the spouse or the friend. And it’s easy to get into a rut of seeing all the things that we don’t like.

That’s not helpful, of course.

I frequently encourage clients to focus on what is going well. This isn’t me being a Pollyanna (she is so annoying, am I right?). Rather, it’s me helping them break the trance induced by staring at the garbage heap that appears to grow larger the longer we gaze at it. Instead, shaking it off and switching our focus to the good things that are going on – and there are always good things going on, we simply have to choose to see them – enables us to appreciate the small stuff more, and brings the garbage heap we thought was 36 feet high back into perspective (it’s probably only 12 feet high – or maybe even only 12 inches).

So, that’s a good step, right? Finding the good stuff even when we’re in a bad spot shifts our focus and gives us back some perspective. But you know what’s even better?

Celebrating that good stuff! None too surprisingly, I also frequently encourage clients to celebrate every win! And we can call lots of things “wins” if we choose to! The size of the celebration can depend on the size of the win, like a long vacation somewhere you both like to go for major wedding anniversaries. I mean, making it through another decade of marriage without causing bodily harm to one another deserves something big! Or it could be fancy dinner out for a promotion at work, or landing a new client. Or it could be game night at home for surviving another week at work without spiking your coffee (or lacing the boss’). Or…you could shake things up and go all willy-nilly and take a weekend away just because you’re still breathing, and you know how special that can be in the midst of your current circumstances! Think about a game night at home with or without friends, a special bottle of wine, movie night … there are sooo many possibilities!

Big or small – a good grade in school, a good job review, the fact that you woke up this morning, not filling your co-worker’s desk with grasshoppers, the fact that the sun rose – you can find something to celebrate, and you can creatively come up with ways to do it.

So, go! Start planning your next celebration. And please, come back and tell me what you celebrated, how you celebrated, and how much better you felt afterward!

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“Time” for Change

When you hear the term “time management,” how do you respond? Do you cringe, or roll your eyes, or break out in a cold sweat? Or does it excite and inspire you? Or – tell the truth, now – have you become numb to the term, so you hardly even notice it anymore?

Whatever your feelings on the subject, it’s one we simply cannot escape. Time management has become its own industry, and in one form or another, a part of daily life. When I started writing this post, I did a search for time management articles and in one second there were 2.8 billion – with a “b” – hits! (As an aside, I nearly got waylaid from this post by my curiosity over whether all cultures struggle this much with “time management,” or if the U.S. is in the lead here…but that’s different research for a different post.)

Frankly, I am a huge fan of time management. Moving things around on the calendar is soothing to me. I coach people on managing their time, and I think it is equal parts art and science. Some folks are born with an innate ability to organize tasks in such a way that they are super productive. I’m one of those people.

However, I confess that sometimes I feel like I’m trying to wrestle my schedule and pin it to the mat, to conquer time itself, and it can feel futile some days! I squeeze things into every slot available, and yet there are more things I feel I need to fit into each day or each week. Even those of us who are pretty good at this game can quickly become overwhelmed.

But God doesn’t. Recently, in prayer time, God blessed me with a new way of looking at “time management,” and it has been a game-changer! And as God tends to do, He made it super simple. It’s a matter of changing one tiny but incredibly significant word: “management.” What if I toss that word out and replace it with the word “stewardship?” So, our new term is “time stewardship.”Ahhhh…think on that one for a moment! Run that over your tongue and around your mind.

Many of us are familiar with the idea of financial stewardship, but not so much time stewardship. What would it look like if I viewed the way I spend my time in the same way I view how I spend my money? I view the money that comes into our home as His money (which it is); I can also choose to view the time I am given each day as if it were His time (which it is)!

This shift of perspective leads me to want to learn what He would say about how to apportion time and tasks. It causes me want to honor Him in how I steward the hours in each day and week. It inspires me to treat the time I have been gifted with greater care and gentleness. With this new dynamic comes a shift of focus; from my wants to His desires for me.

I’m curious to know if this teensy little word change has a similar impact on you! Leave me a comment and let me know!

If you still struggle with how best to steward your time and think you could benefit from some coaching in this area, contact me and we can partner with God and help you get unstuck!

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I, Prodigal

Okay, I admit it: I’ve been known to tune out when someone starts preaching on the prodigal son … again. I may or may not sometimes internally sigh, thinking ‘again with the story of the prodigal?!’ I mean, really, it gets preached on, written about and referenced all. the. time.  Am I right?

Recently, though, God showed me that no matter how many times I read or hear this story, it is still my story. I may not have turned to wild partying (this time) or squandered the family savings (this time).  It doesn’t have to be blatantly evil! Indeed, our enemy specializes in subtlety and distractions, and he knows all too well which ones will snare each of us most effectively! They even be “good” things!

It’s as if I see a pretty flower just off the path and I want to get a closer look.  Flowers are from God, made in part for our enjoyment, right? Maybe the flower – the distraction or lure – is a person, or a job, or a ministry. Just a quick look, a small whiff, no harm done … until, once again, I find I’ve wandered off the path and gotten stuck in the briars, or lost my way altogether, and am crying out in pain and fear, cold and alone, holding a wilted flower.

Mercifully, God hears my cries. Yet again He shines a light in my darkness, helps me find my way back to His path, where He waits for me patiently, arms outstretched, love in His eyes. Love that I think is perhaps mixed with a bit of sadness over my own self-induced pain, fear, and frustration.  And I am, as always, overjoyed and relieved to be in His arms, safe and secure again. To be rescued. And then, in His arms, warm and comforted, I vow never to wander again (until the next time).

And so I think I’ll be more respectful and humble the next time I hear or read the story of the prodigal … my story.

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Grave Clothes

While reading a devotional recently I was reminded of the scene in the Bible when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead (John, Chapter 11).  A particular line from this passage caught my attention: After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go” (John 11:44).

Something struck me about this passage. Lazarus was dead, then Jesus brought him back to life. Lazarus needed to keep on living, walking around, eating, doing ministry, visiting with his family and friends, and all the other activities of life … and he could not do any of that with those grave clothes on! Lazarus needed to shed the bindings of his death that would hold him back from the renewed and abundant life that Christ gave him!

You and I were once dead. But then, if you know the Christ as your Lord and Savior, you and I were given new life. Eternal life, absolutely and irrevocably! But also new life right here and now, and for the rest of our days on this planet!

However, we cannot move freely and fully into that life if we are still bound by the evidence of our previous life and the death that life brought to us. We need to surrender those things to the Lord and let him remove them from us, once and for all. We tend to want to keep those things wrapped around us because even though they are not meant for us to hold onto, they are familiar, and that makes them just a little bit comfortable to us (or, in come cases, VERY comfortable, am I right?). But they are cumbersome, burdensome, and yes, they even tend to stink up the new life we have been given.

These grave clothes are made up of lots of things, like unforgiveness, addiction, unhealthy speech and thought patterns, generational curses (fancy words for unhealthy junk our parents and grandparents passed onto us, often unintentionally), and even toxic relationships. This list is by no means all-inclusive, so I urge you to go to Jesus in prayer so he can lovingly show you what grave clothes are keeping you from walking freely and completely out of the life you died to and living the full, rich life that He intends for you to live.

It is often uncomfortable, challenging work, peeling off and surrendering those grave clothes, but with the help of Jesus, it can be done. Won’t you let him minister to you, help remove what hinders you and the sin that has you entangled (Hebrews 12:1)?

Step by unhindered step, with the help of Jesus, you can come forth from the grave of your past and be clothed with the freedom of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14). And when you do, you will be able to leap and dance and run with joy the race set out before you (Hebrews 12:1)!

As always, if you find your self stuck or in need of help to take steps to live and feel healthier and more satisfied with your life, please feel free to reach out to me!

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The Best Gift Ever!

This week, we celebrate the beginning of the most significant life ever lived on this earth. The beginning of the ultimate rescue. The arrival of the key to peace.

This life would not be easy. The life of a King who chose poverty over riches, who lived as equal to the Father but as humble as a servant. The life of a man who refused to be enslaved by his flesh, in order that he could offer us freedom.

This week we will celebrate the beginning of the most precious life ever lived, the life of a man who taught, who wept, who laughed with his friends and experienced anguish like few of us will ever know. A man who loved like none of us are capable of loving. A young life ended unjustly, tragically, and voluntarily. A life that was lived, and ended, to give us a gift. The gift of salvation.

In light of such a gift, our response must be simple and true; we must be thankful. And the fruit of such a depth of gratitude is to live a life in service to the giver of such a magnificent gift.

It can be easy to get “wrapped up” in giving and receiving gifts to and from loved ones. But don’t forget, in this season of busyness and in these days of chaos and uncertainty, that there has only ever been one gift that really and truly matters. One gift that transcends time and the temporal. One gift we cannot hold in our hands, only in our hearts. It is the gift of the Christ. If you have not yet received this gift, I believe your soul is eager and longing to. Please, reach out to me or another believer you know; the gift we have been given longs to be the best gift you’ll ever receive, as well!

Let us celebrate with awe, reverence, and purest joy this Christmas. Happy birthday, Lord Jesus the Christ!

From our home to yours, merry Christmas.

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Renew Your Power

“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired.” (AMP)

In Isaiah 40:31, Scripture tells us that those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. It does not say that when we worry and strive and grasp and overanalyze (which I am FAMOUS for, believe me) we will find rest.

I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of running full steam ahead and hoping I’ll see the moment when God says, “Here, Angela. Have some peace as you try to do all this stuff you are doing on your own power. Have a healthy dose of joy as you choose to exhaust yourself.” That is sort of like when those amazing, wonderful humans stand on the side of a racecourse and hand out little sips of water to the runners. Experienced runners do not typically swallow that water, they just wet their mouths with it, so they do not get sick. But the water is not hydrating their bodies like it does when we drink deeply. It is refreshing, but only comforts for a short time. Sort of like all those little things we soothe ourselves with when we get worn out because we choose not to rest, like alcohol, food, drugs, television … it is a long and often shocking list.

When I do not stop and rest in the Lord. He does not abandon me. But I do not get that soul-deep peace I crave. I do not get that joy that I can feel in all of my spirit. I do not overflow with hope until I surrender my striving and my running and my planning to trusting in Him. To believing in Him. To waiting for Him, with Him, in Him.

Won’t you join me in making a conscious decision to make time to rest in Him at least once per week? This may look different for you than for me, but it could include any one – or combination – of these: time in prayer, time spent pondering Scripture (even one verse that touches your heart), time being still and silent in His presence, or any other way that you feel deeply connected to the Holy Spirit that leaves you feeling refreshed afterward, like your power has been renewed.

Let’s be people of rest, not people who are stressed.

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Feeling the Frenzy?

I’m talking about all that “stuff” we fill our days with that keeps us on our toes, on edge, and on a path leading to regret and often to some dangerous habits. Sadly, it is often the same “stuff” we get kudos for from family, bosses and everyone who benefits from our “tireless” efforts (reality check: THEY are not tired; we ARE). And let’s face it; too often it’s the stuff we put on ourselves. Frequently we are our own biggest critic and our own biggest cheerleader, encouraging ourselves to fit more in, to feed that frenzy!

Sure, it’s good to be efficient. But I find myself making a game of seeing how much I can squeeze into five minutes, or thirty minutes, all through the day. You’d be surprised; it’s pretty impressive! However, I also find myself getting to the end of far too many days and realizing that I have not experienced the day that has just finished. I mean, I survived it, but that doesn’t mean I experienced it. It’s more like I attacked it with so much focus that I was blinded to the small moments, or even to the potential for those moments. You know, the moments that matter.

While I know we’re all busy during this most unique holiday season, I encourage you, along with me, to carefully weed out the things that don’t matter so much and replace them with only the things that do.

  • Toss your unrealistic intentions. The good intentions that are bound to lead to disappointment should get ruthlessly eliminated right now, before the disappointment and guilt settle in.  That includes things like the hand-made gifts for every teacher in the school district that you want to make, but that you haven’t even purchased the supplies for yet. Or the two-dozen cookie trays consisting of 35 unique cookies per tray that you have been wanting to make (besides the would-be recipients may appreciate that you didn’t add to their guilt come January’s weigh-in!). Even those all-day, back-to-back appointments for work can’t become a habit. Stop it now before you burn out!
  • Prioritize people. Instead of spending hours (or days) making sure the house is immaculate for the holidays, make time for a Zoom party with the friends you can’t meet with face-to-face right now, and with your family from out of state who can’t travel to see you this year. All you have to do is wear relatively clean clothes (or at least a clean shirt, am I right?) and point the camera toward a clean-ish space! Then sit back, relax and enjoy the time you have with them.
  • Make the best of less. Don’t waste tons of time (and money that so many of us are extra short on this year) preparing food for the masses.  Instead, take advantage of smaller gatherings and spend more time playing games with those closest to you. In fact, let everyone choose a dish and cook it; preparation of a smaller-scale meal will be easier to supervise!

I’m sure you have other helpful ideas, and I’d love to read them in the comments!

We’re all a bit off-kilter this year, so give yourself some grace. Give yourself room to breathe and make some time to just do that, to just breathe. The important things will fall into place more easily when you’re rested, calm and feeling fresh instead of frenzied.

Remember: every minute does not have to be jam-packed, no matter what you may be telling yourself. It is better to be available than filled with regret. Most of us have been reminded more this year than ever that life is short. Step away from the laptop. Look up from your to-do list. Notice the people in your life and enjoy them, as you forget about the frenzy.

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Myth-Busting the Quest for Purpose (Part Two)

Last week I told you what I used to believe about the “Quest for Purpose,” and how God lovingly corrected me, pointing out to me what I was missing. This week I’ll tell you how He filled in the blanks and graciously turned on a light bulb in my head, giving me clarity on what our one true purpose in life really is…

What God Says

You see, God has gifted us all with a unique combination of specific gifts, talents, passions, personalities, and temperaments. And I believe in various seasons of life He gives us assignments to accomplish utilizing those gifts, talents, passions, etc. As it turns out, our purpose is to be obedient to Him and to use them however he requests.

DON’T MISS THAT.

It is our purpose on this earth to be obedient in every season, no matter what tasks God assigns us! OBEDIENCE IS OUR *ONE* PURPOSE! Our gifts are not our purpose. Our passions are not our purpose. Our talents are not our purpose. Using them IN OBEDIENCE TO GOD is our purpose.

Throughout the Bible God calls His people to be obedient: Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, Matthew, Peter, Paul, and countless others, including the generations to come (that includes us).

  • God required obedience of the Israelites in the desert: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples…” (Exodus 19:5). Note the promise attached to this request for obedience!
  • Jesus says to his followers: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
  • The Holy Spirit, through James, admonishes believers to be “doers of the Word” (James 1:22).

Jesus set the example:

  • “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8)
  • “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42, emphasis mine).
  • “…but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31, Jesus speaking, emphasis mine).
  • “So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say” (John 12:50, Jesus speaking, emphasis mine).

There are promised blessings attached to obedience:

  • God will make His home with us (John 14:23).
  • We will “eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19).
  • He will “open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it” (Mal. 3:10).
  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21, emphasis mine). Note that this one begins with a warning!

There are more, and I encourage you to search the Scriptures for yourself to learn what God says about being obedient, along with the blessings that come with it – AND the dangers of disobedience.

Making it Practical

Here’s another example: Say my vocation is “auto mechanic.” That does not mean it is my purpose, even if I am the best auto mechanic ever, anywhere, in all of history. It means merely that that is the VOCATION God has blessed me with and skilled me to do. Now, if a single mom comes in with three kids in her car, which has a leaky exhaust that will prevent it from passing inspection, it is my JOB to fix her car. But let’s say God tells me to slip a $50 bill into the console where she can find it later on, or to do the repair without charging her for labor. My PURPOSE in that moment is to be obedient to His instruction, in the situation He has placed me through my vocation.

But let’s make it a bigger stretch: Say that in this same scenario God asks me, the mechanic, to find out who in my neighborhood is in need and anonymously put a bag of groceries on their doorstep. Now, even though my VOCATION is as a mechanic, God is asking me to do something completely unrelated to that vocation. My PURPOSE is still obedience to Him.

For the longest time, I thought my purpose was synonymous with my job. Not true. My purpose is to be obedient to whatever He asks me to do, whenever He asks me to do it, whether I’m at work, at church, crossing the street, shopping for groceries, or sitting inside my home watching Netflix.

So Stop It Already

Stop searching and striving for your “purpose” in life and start resting and trusting and listening for that still, small voice. He will tell you what to do, where to go, who to reach out to, what job to take, which school to go to, who to date/not to date, and on and on and on. Your purpose is to say, “YES, LORD!” To be obedient to WHATEVER He calls you to do.

Now, I know some of you may be rolling your eyes and thinking I’m a bit slow. I’m sincerely overjoyed for you that you have figured this out already!

But for the rest of you folks who, along with me, have toiled and searched and grieved over what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives to serve God best, what He put us here to do, “what our purpose is”; it is this one simple, yet often incredibly difficult, small but often overwhelming, thing:

Our purpose is to be obedient to God. To say, “Yes, Lord.” To say, “You chose me, and I will go.”

That’s it.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog and like my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/angelaglicklifecoach) to stay up to date on future blog posts and other meanderings.

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Myth-Busting the Quest for Purpose

STOP SEARCHING FOR YOUR PURPOSE!

Yes, you read that right. I want you to stop searching for your purpose. Those words are hard to write, because for years now, I’ve spent hours in prayer concentrated on figuring out my purpose, toiling, taking assessments, crying, journaling, reading the books and doing the Bible studies, striving to the point of exhaustion. The “Quest for Purpose” has become a billion-dollar industry, and I’ve done my share over the years to contribute. All along, I was missing the forest for the trees! Thankfully, God recently shed some light on this for me. You know, like He does.

What I Believed (Erroneously)

I have long believed the sometimes-troubling idea that we do not have onepurpose in this life. Rather, I believed that our purpose changes from season to season, though there is often something of a common thread running through those seasons.

An Example

For example, if a young woman is gifted in finance, has the appropriate degrees, and excellent job prospects, but becomes pregnant, there may be a period in her life when she is a stay-at-home mom. Her purpose, under my former way of thinking, may then be to use her financial prowess to the best benefit of her household. Then, perhaps, at a future time in her life her purpose (again, according to my former way of thinking), might be to use part of her income from one of those excellent job prospects to sponsor a missionary or help fund the building of a church. 

The common thread is her financial skills. The seasons are her youth, stay-at-home motherhood, and attending to her career goals.

The Missing Piece

This is a good start, but an important foundational piece is missing here – her actual purpose. The above example merely demonstrates how she uses a specific gift from one season of life to the next. That is not to say that God won’t use us to bless others through our gifts, because He will. That is why He has given them to us; not for our benefit, but to bless others!

But understand this: Her gifting is not her purpose. Which is reassuring because we are blessed with multiple gifts and talents. That being true, this is where many of us get confused, bogged down, frustrated, and sometimes lose hope and motivation. Here’s why: If we have four outstanding talents (cooking, making people laugh, painting breathtaking art and juggling, for example), and we don’t understand what our ONE TRUE PURPOSE is, we may spend a lot of time, energy and money barking up the wrong tree. FOUR TIMES (or more)!

The Answer

Next week, I’ll share with you what God has laid on my heart about the “Quest for Purpose” – a topic I’ve talked about, blogged on and completely misunderstood for years! Be sure to subscribe to this blog and like my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/angelaglicklifecoach) for part two, and to stay up to date on future blog posts and other meanderings.

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Hope in Times of Hardship

Recently, I found myself wondering why it is that we have to look so far – all the way to heaven – for joy, peace, comfort. Why this life “must” be so full of hardship, as we are told in Scripture that it will be (1 John 16:33). Then a few things happened:

  1. I remembered that it is sin that has our world so upside-down and inside-out, so full of strife; and that it is a gift from God that we do, in fact, have heaven to look forward to!
  2. As I began to read Scriptures involving suffering, I found an interesting takeaway: the majority of them come with an encouraging promise! A few examples:
    • “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10, NIV, emphasis mine).
    • “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19, NIV, emphasis mine). (Note that you are made righteous when you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior (Romans 3:22), so this promise is for all believers.)
    • “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (1 Cor. 4:17, NIV, emphasis mine).
    • “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sinAs a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2, NIV, emphasis mine).
    • “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” 1 John 16:33, NIV, emphasis mine).

There are more, but I encourage you to find them on your own.

  • God reminded me that heaven isn’t so far away, particularly since believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 1:21-22). I mean, for me that feels like a piece of heaven living right inside me!
  • I remembered that when I keep my gaze to heaven, a couple of things become clear:
    • Heaven doesn’t seem so far away; and
    • I am no longer focused on the suffering of this world.
  • I am reminded that if I choose to, I can see much good in the world, even good that comes from suffering. Is that always easy? Well, no. But it does get easier the more I intentionally practice it. So, my perspective, as usual, largely dictates my emotional state, and my perspective is up to me to adjust (and is one of the few things in life I can actually control).

I came away from this prayer time (and from writing this post!) encouraged and at peace. I hope you will, also!

If you are struggling to find hope in your current circumstances, please reach out to me, or to someone, for help. You can reach me at angelaglicklifecoach@gmail.com.