This One Thing Turned Her Life Around


HappyWe all have stories. The lovely, magical even, thing about life is that we get to control how our stories goes. And even better, we get to be the hero of our own stories.

Or we can be the victim, the damsel in distress, the unlucky sidekick or the one standing on the sidelines. How your story turns out is determined every moment of every day. Even this one right now, as you read my words. 

I write words that I glean from my own story, collecting the pieces, bit by bit. I write them because I do not want one single person to go through life not taking full advantage of their ability and capacity to be happy. I write these words because it wasn’t until the age of 48 that I realized I almost missed out on finding true happiness and that thought scared me enough to become an advocate for finding, creating and living happiness.

I have permission to share one of my readers (true) story with you. She agreed because she really gets what I am saying and hopes that by sharing how she rediscovered happiness, she may make a difference in someone’s life, too. 

Hi Lesley,

Your coaching has broken the cycle. I have started going into my studio every day for over a week.  The first day I was shaking and anxious. I’d forgotten where everything was and my hands weren’t doing what my brain expected.  Now I’m feeling a happiness that I haven’t had in a long time.
My excuses have been cancer surgery, going partially blind in both eyes, loosing my son in a car wreck, fibromyalgia pain and fatigue. I’m 67 yrs. old & my husband is retired and home with me 24/7.   All good excuses not to do art. Right?
But going to my studio and just doing collages has made me happy again. Now my mind is thinking of designs, colors, found objects & accomplishments.  The negative “poor me” self talk is gone.  You are my mentor, inspiration and friend. Blessing to you.
Thanks for being there.
I should mention that Lee is not a coaching client. She simply took action on my words and began rewriting her story – a very tough story to re-write, wouldn’t you say? There’s that key word, the thing that precedes all change – action.
I still have time-creating techniques and many, many more life-changing enlightening words of wisdom to share with you, but they won’t mean a dang thang if you don’t act on them. Are you with me on this, because I need your help.
I’ve been working on something that until today was more of a puzzle than a plan.  I now have the missing piece. I need to know if you’ll help me though, because it’s something I can’t do alone. I’ll have more details soon, but right now, I need to know if you’re willing to take action so that together, we can break the cycle. Please leave a comment or email me. Knowing that you, like Lee, are there, will make all the difference.


  1. I’m a newbie here, and intrigued!

  2. Rita Hannafin says:

    Yes ready.

  3. linda welch says:

    Yes, I’m ready to break the cycle.

  4. ready willing and able. let’s do this. sandy

  5. Looking forward to it.

  6. I´m in with you and so glad that I´m not the only one with problems to get back to creativityl. :-))

  7. I’m definitely in! I thought I posted a comment but it seems to have disappeared. Thank you, Lesley, for helping us achieve some creative goals. You’re a real inspiration! Looking forward to your new ideas! And to meeting you at Art Unraveled in August!

  8. Wow! Of course I’m in! Love your positive messages! I too was a caretaker and have gotten behind in my creative life. I’m getting back to it and trying to make time for myself. Always so many other demands, such as work, to interrupt my time, so I’m very curious and looking forward to what you have in mind! And very excited to meet you at Art Unraveled in August!

  9. Colleen says:

    Want to be a part of it all.

  10. Chris Burton says:

    Hello Leslie—-SO interested to know more about your latest Creative Endeavor, and would love to be included in the fun! : D

  11. Kathy Johnson says:

    I am curious to discover what your plan is. I have missed the 52pick-up.

  12. Barb Stone says:

    Love the post and I’m so with you! The quote is from John Lennon, btw. 🙂

  13. Would love to help. My challenge was moving from a 40 year medical career to retirement. While always “creating,” I didn’t want to isolate myself and can say honestly that some thought, preparation, and action were all important and now I couldn’t be happier.

  14. I’d love to participate! I’m in a new stage of life and floundering. Am anxious to hear what you are up to.

  15. Okay, Lesley…I’m curious now! Would love to hear your plans!

  16. Leslie, I’m in! I love you’re encouragements, and when I read the comments here, I see that my caregiver chores are but a blip compared to most–I can take this journey with you and get back to my artwork.

  17. I often think I am the only one dealing with caregiver overload, but realize reading these stories that mine is but a blip–and am so in! I need your encouraging words to continue with my art.

  18. There is much fear in me, Lesley. Will I be able to do what will be reguired? Will I like it, will it fits me? But I will be brave and give it a go!

  19. Yep. Me too thanks Lesley! It’ll be good and there will be ACTION involved!

  20. Margaret says:

    I am very interested, and I need some inspiration please.

  21. I’m ready to accept a challenge; your words have encouraged me and I will happy to reciprocate.

  22. Hello Lesley- I, too, would like to be supportive of your endeavors. All my adult life I have yearned for more me time to be creative, whether sewing, painting, writing poetry, etc. I do little bits here and there but find it frustrating that it is the first thing that gets dropped because there are more pressing demands on my time. I feel so full of creative desires that have had no outlet, it’s as though I have been to a grand buffet and overeaten to the point of discomfort. But no longer. I am ready to take the time to nourish this creative side of me. I am ready to add a new chapter as artist! Looking forward to whatever you have coming.

  23. Eileen Sottovia says:

    Anxious to hear how I can help too. Rewriting my own story as we speak. Moving to a new area and focusing on my art! Always love your inspiring words.

  24. As a teacher trying to stay afloat while working with 20-somethings and 70-somethings and providing elder care for an 80-something, I find myself all too often wondering if there’s life after 60. Time to make even little bits of time for myself before the well runs dry.

  25. Libby White says:

    I would love to move on and want to join you in the project but I must tell you where my life stands at the moment. My husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 2 months ago and given 4-6 months to live. I retired to take care of him but this may be more than I can handle. I need to keep creating , it is the only way to keep my soul alive but my time is not my own now or for the for seeable future. Can you find room for me or will I bring everyone down?

    • Lesley Riley says:

      Nt at all, Libby. What I will be doing is to help others that may be in similar circumstances so your input will be valuable, even if you have to be sporadic in showing up. Stay tuned.

    • Hi Libby. I was in a somewhat similar position to you about two years ago. I had the deep understanding that I needed to express some of my creative urge, even though my time was not my own and I was fully occupied with caring for my husband. Somehow, along came Newsletters from Lesley Riley in my emails. I decided to join up to her Artist Success online program.

      It was fabulous, as the weekly chapters were do-able at home. It gave me the impetus to re-start my artworks. Lesley said to put aside 20 minutes each day to do my stuff. I made a corner of our main living room area into a mini studio and started. I haven’t looked back and was still there for my husband all the time during his final months of life. My life is wonderful!

      Good wishes to you from Brisbane, Australia Libby.

  26. Well, I am intrigued with what your new project can be – I am willing to help if I can. Count me in. 🙂

  27. Lee’s story resonates with me so strongly – loss of my elder son under tragic circumstances, my cancer diagnosis, surgery and chemo, other health issues and the brain scramble that follows all that! But Lesley, your words always have encouraged me to get back to the creative life, and the poem last week reminded me of that vital word “intention”. So I look forward to what comes next along the journey we all share with you.

  28. I’m on my mark…I’m set…LET’S GO!!

  29. Corinne Meharg says:

    You know you can count on me to follow you wherever you’re going! It’s always great fun.

  30. Tapping my toes, anxious to start!

  31. Marlaine says:

    I am soooooo in and so very ready to get going again. Looking forward to whatever comes next!

  32. Let’s do it!

  33. Count me in!

  34. I am intrigued!

  35. whatever I can do, of course I will help.
    So looking forward to actually meet you in May in Castricum. I know it will be awesome !

  36. Rhonda Davis says:

    I’m ready to take action with you on this challenge. I currently have two art quilts started…yeah me…my first two at that.

  37. Lesley R Vidich says:

    Heh Lesley,

    we got the same first name…(LoL)
    ….I am working on a project and it is a bit scary since I have neglected to keep time for creating my art work for
    …………………………………………………………………….a long time………
    I’m working on it!!

    many thanks for your encouraging messages!!!

    Lesley (R. Vidich)

  38. sounds mysterious, inviting and intriguing,
    who wouldn’t be up for it!
    thanks, and I look forward to details

  39. Jo Johnston says:

    I love puzzles! Let’s put one together.

  40. Kelly Harms says:

    I’m ready to take the leap with you!

  41. I’ll give it my best!

  42. I’m ready for action. I am willing.

  43. Carolyn Felmingham says:

    You are inspiring Lesley, looking forward to seeing what you have in mind.

  44. Cathe Ekas says:

    Lesley, Everything you have been saying has been helping me already, after being in a creative rut for too long. So, I am super excited to see what you come up with next.

  45. Let the Genie out of the bottle, PLEASE! I’m here, waiting . . . ready . . . set . . . go! Thanks Lesley!

  46. Tell me more!

  47. Count on me.

  48. donna joy says:

    do tell us more 🙂

  49. Wendy DiMicco says:

    Lesley, I’d love to hear more about this!

  50. Carol Boyer says:

    You can do what you set your mind to, with a little bit of self belief mixed in for good measure. Just start and the next step will appear…..
    Keep Creating

  51. Rachel Stewart says:

    Count me in!

  52. Wonderful! Lee’s story is so inspiring and so is yours! I was planning to leave a comment even before I read the last bit, but now how could I not and risk missing out on the fun?!

  53. Linda Bannan says:

    Count me in, Lesley! Looking forward to what will be!

  54. Judi Delgado says:

    Dang, you’re good! I need you now more than ever, so if you are needing me as well, I’m there. Hugs to you.

  55. What kind of fun are you up to now Lesley? *rubs hands together* 😀

  56. I’m with you, Lesley! I’ve been rewriting my story for about 7 (?) years, and it’s a very happy one now! Let’s go!

    xoxo lulu

    • As my friend Lynn Whipple says step one is MOVE YOUR HANDS. It really starts with a simple act. One step at a time.