October 2018, my friend Karla Stephens Tolstoy was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

This is not a blog about cancer.  Stay with me.


Karla, with her husband Al, created specific goals when they found out this news.

One of them was seeing her son graduate this June. It happened.

Another was to celebrate her 50thbirthday (it’s this December).


I believe we are all unique; it’s just how I see things.

I also believe that there are some people that really stand out.

I’ve known Karla since I was 13 years old.  Karla has ALWAYS been one of those people. She’s a tell it like it is, thinks with her mouth, shares with the world type of gal.

She is marvelous.


Imagine the ride she has had in the last 12 months.  The shocking news. The due diligence while making every health decision.  Surgeries. Chemo. Weeks in the hospital. Constant reality/life checks.  Good days/bad days. Good moments/ugly moments.


Through this, Karla has utilized resources and experts available to her, has dug deep and learned a lot about herself.

Also, through this, Karla has created a massive Group Text that, at my last count 190+ women from around the world are on, supporting Karla through this journey. Karla calls us her Circle of Strength.  Consider the impact Karla has on individuals, to have 190+ women connect with her daily.  Yep, that’s how she rolls!


About 12 weeks ago, Karla decided to make her 50thbirthday happen. She hosted 160 women (with the help of a team of people including an amazing special events crew) from around the world for a 10-hour extravaganza in the backyard of her home this past Saturday.  The event was called Circle of Strength.  Her goal ultimately was to give each of us the learning experiences she had had in the last year, without having the cancer nightmare that has gone with it.   The day was filled with speakers and facilitators covering topics like vulnerability, gratitude, love, confidence andbeingenough. There was a host for the event, singers, dancers, masseuses, artists, support team, amazing food, gift bags, loot bags, fireworks and a burning ceremony.  Karla demanded no gifts and no store bought cards.  Our gift was to attend and to donate to a cause that she boldly fights for: Child Welfare Political Action Committee Canada.  I could write for pages, and still be challenged to capture the detail of the day long, give-to-yourself, you’re worth it event. She gave 160 women a life gift on Saturday; A looking glass into themselves of all we can be and the path to get there.


Imagine the selflessness of hosting an event like this after the year she has had.

You’ve signed up for my blog knowing my focus is helping people better communicate  (Intentional Communication) by better connecting with oneself.  I’m sharing Karla’s 50th birthday celebration as an example of someone who is striving to make that happen for herself, and for all people around her.  Amazing.

September 28thKarla Stephens Tolstoy ignited 160 International women to deepen their own connections and take on their life fully.  Karla, from all of us, thank you for that gift, and the gift of you xo


Like always, let me leave you a couple questions to consider on this topic:

What are you doing to own your life fully?

What stories/crap/inner-voice- chatterneeds to stop today, for you to better connect with YOU?

What’s so important that it scares you?  Dare you to make it happen today.