Welcome to Twin Oaks (Virtual) B&B – a virtual “retreat” where you can rekindle dreams, explore your creative side, and learn to pursue your passions. Be inspired to make your home more comfortable and your outdoor living spaces more inviting. Find new reasons to celebrate and nurture your relationships with friends and family. Explore the values and connections that can be gained through small town living. And discover opportunities to create happiness and find fulfillment in things that are truly important to you.
Hi, I’m Janet!
I began writing about how to create a better life when I realized that other people face the same challenges I do. Problems that we don’t like to admit, because we think we should have gotten over them a long time ago. Problems like feeling socially inept, awkward, and out of place. As though everyone else discovered a key to a door in life that we simply can’t open.
As adults with jobs and bills and responsibilities and choices, we don’t want others to know that we struggle with self-esteem and decision-making. We don’t want to reveal our vulnerabilities for fear they may be used against us.
But the truth is, most people have their own little quirks and unique perspectives that make them behave a little differently than everybody else. We try to hide those differences by making ourselves look as much like everyone else as we possibly can.
And the real downside is that our fear of being different keeps us from reaching our own potential.
As a human resource director in the public sector for nearly 10 years, I met many people who were struggling in one way or another in their jobs. And what really stood out to me was the fact that the problems most people face aren’t job-related at all – they are personal problems that spill over into the workplace.
In my professional role, I didn’t get much opportunity to share my personal experiences, insight and observations that might have helped. And that was really frustrating.
I would rather have been an older sister, or an insightful friend, who could talk to each person on a personal level. After all, once you’ve gone through all the heartaches and pain of working through tough situations, you want to use your experience to help someone else by making their journey a little easier.
Without making it too long a story, I can tell you that I overcame terrible shyness and feelings of inferiority and shame during my fight for a better life. I survived a very tumultuous childhood (the result of circumstances, not people), made a mess of adolescence, and shot like a cannon into adulthood with the most ridiculous and unrealistic expectations of life.
And then made a life-changing decision to become a single parent.
Of course, in life, things never work out as you think they will. My dreams of moving to a big city, earning a high salary and being a self-sufficient mom (are your eyes rolling? because mine sure are!) dissolved as my maternal instincts kicked in, and I became a full-time, baby-cuddling, family-loving mommy.
But just because you feel like changing course and leading a normal life doesn’t mean it’s going to suddenly happen. And for a fresh-out-of-college, brand new mom with no job, no house, and no other half to shoulder the responsibility, it can be quite a challenge. Throw in insecure, awkward, and clueless and it becomes a mess.
But things did work out – in a very good way.
Why Twin Oaks?
The concept behind Twin Oaks is simple: build a virtual bed and breakfast for people to “visit” and experience the relaxation, nurturing and encouragement one might find at a private retreat. It’s a safe place to share ideas and explore thoughts and feelings we often keep hidden, and have conversations about things you’d discuss with a close friend.
Twin Oaks (Virtual) B&B is loaded with tips, tricks and ideas for cutting through fear, pushing past obstacles, and building your best life. One by one, we’ll tackle the things that frustrate you and make you stumble, and learn how to turn things to your advantage. We’ll create homes that make us feel comfortable, inspire creativity and encourage our productivity. We’ll talk about ways to build positive relationships, and nurture friendships that mean the most to us. And we’ll discover our own inner strength and beauty, helping our best characteristics shine through.
A better life is within your grasp.
It really is all up to you. But sometimes, it takes a little coaxing to get that goodness out!
And Now… The Rest of My Story
So, how did things work out for me?
Well, an overwhelming desire to create a good life for my child was one of the first pieces. We’ll explore others in this blog.
For now, I’ll catch you up to speed on my story.
Many years later, I finally found what felt like the life I was searching for, in a kind of unlikely place – a 30 acre farm (small, by farm standards, but quite large if you were raised in a regular neighborhood), complete with cows, chickens, a barn, tractor, dogs, cats, friendly neighbors, a charming small town and a sweet church family.
I wasn’t born or raised on a farm, and didn’t care about quietness, open spaces, and least of all darkness (and I still don’t – ours is the house in the country with a lights everywhere, inside and out, LOL).
But I was crazy about the guy that lived there.
And slowly, I realized I loved animals – especially dogs and cats (we have quite a few). I like spending time outdoors, and constantly rearranging our landscape. I adore having my own beautiful home, making it comfortable for my family and for entertaining friends.
It wasn’t the country itself that helped me find my way to a happier life, but the comfort and the real-ness of the space… the transparency and openness of the people, and the unaffected simplicity, and unpretentious lifestyle of the people I came to know and love. And from there – I found the freedom to create the life I wanted to live.
In these pages, I’ll show you how I found it, and what steps I took to get there.
Now, if you want a shorter and more to-the-point version, you can check out my new e-guide How to Have a Normal Life (though I have to confess, with – 97 pages and 37 activities – it’s not really very short). It is, however, all about you – none of the fluff, or stories about me.
On the other hand, if you’d like to wander around my little piece of heaven – the little corner created for just for me to live my own little life – then welcome! Come in and explore! Drink in the ideas and possibilities that make Twin Oaks the perfect place to find inspiration to creating your ideal life.