Business – Poking His Nose

poking his nose in my business

I was born in an era where most women stayed at home. But I became an entrepreneur. Late in life, I married Herman, a clinical psychologist, who had no clue about business. But that didn’t prevent him from poking his nose into my business and sometimes at the wrong time. It was also his life mission was to make everyone laugh; in 1999 that included my employees in my Internet startup, who were working hard in our basement at home.

One summer, Herman got Bells Palsy, it had affected his speech, and he also had to wear a patch over one eye. One weekend, we had experimented and failed miserably trying to play golf with his wearing swimming goggles to protect his eye.

On Monday morning, I had an important business visitor. The VP from Miele vacuum was coming to call, and I hoped to persuade him to become their first online internet dealer.

The VP had just arrived, and then to my horror, Herman appeared at the bottom of the stairs, Read more ›

Posted in Life

In The Name Of Love – Escargot

escargot in the name of love

In my youth, early on in the relationship with my boyfriend, Eric we made our way to a remote island off Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, for a summer vacation. We were due to meet up with the rest of the family later that week. When I say “remote”, this meant an island with no electricity, no hotels, no restaurants and the closest thing to a store was scarcely bigger than an American bathroom. My boyfriend came from a very wealthy family who was used to enjoying dinners from their in-home resident French chef. But that week we were roughing it.

The choices in the store of things to eat were mostly wine, cheese, and some dried meats. This was an island where it’s inhabitants lived off the land. The change in our diet took some getting used to, and then we hit pay-dirt.

We were hiking one day through some fields when Eric joyfully exclaimed,

“Escargot my favorite!”

The field was littered with hundreds of these snail-like creatures. I confess that I had never been a fan of escargot. No amount of garlic could disguise my repugnance for those little snail horns. Read more ›

Posted in Life

End Of Year Reflections – 2018

end of year reflections - 2018

As this year closes, like for many others, it is time for reflection on whether life is going in the “right direction”. My first instinctive response is to say “Yes but”. Having got a lot clearer about my life’s goals, I am impatient, and realistically at my age, I don’t have all the time to get there. But softly, softly, press the pause button.

Most of you know that is just a few years ago that I lost everything that was important in my life in quick succession; my husband to brain cancer, my company to fraud, and my own breast cancer. If there was ever a trio of life events destined to break my spirit, that was it. While I was never suicidal, I thought it perfectly reasonable to think that life in heaven would be easier than the one I was left with; one surely not of my choosing.

In my recent appearance on PBS TV I spoke of the process of rebuilding my life again from scratch. But now I will share my progress in 2018. Yes, there is surely more to go, but there has been more progress than I would be prone to think. Read more ›

Posted in Inspiration, Life

Fresh Start

In 2015, I am sitting watching Dancing With The Stars.

I am simply amazed and in awe at the dancers, but I feel wistful.

Fresh Start - Mercia Tapping ready for her first dancing competition

Alas, that could never be me, I never learned to dance, and had always sat on the sidelines at social events. Now I am old and too sick. I get up and am clutching onto furniture to steady myself just to move across the living room floor. I am so very tired, simply exhausted. The side effects of the medicine which is saving my life from breast cancer are making me feel like I am 90 years old, every muscle and bone in my body is in screaming pain. What kind of life is this?

You should understand that In 2009 I was the woman who had everything; health, wealth and happiness. I had been riding high as a successful businesswoman, and extraordinarily happy in my marriage. And now I am left with nothing. My husband has died of brain cancer, my CFO defrauded me of millions and most of my retirement savings went to prop up my company. Now I have advanced breast cancer, unable to run the company, so it was recently sold in a fire sale to avoid bankruptcy.

How do you start your life over at 69 years old? Read more ›

Posted in Cancer, Courage, God, Grief, Inspiration

Forgot – Very sorry Sir, but I need your ticket

forgot the ticket - it must be at home

Early in my relationship with my late husband Herman, a clinical psychologist, he kept on admiring my almost new briefcase on wheels, saying how perfect it would be for him to transport patient files. After he had admired it one too many times, I could take a hint if bonked over the head, and I offered to give it to him as a gift, to which he feigned surprise as he readily accepted. I cleaned out all my stuff from my briefcase and gave it to him.

At Christmas time, Herman insisted he was going to come to England with me and meet my parents. Meeting my parents to ostensibly get their blessing, seemed a bit of an absurdity when I was 50 years old and my husband was ten years older. But I went along with the idea. He was not an experienced traveler. We arrived at the airport and I produced my paper ticket for the clerk at the British Airways airline counter. Then came Herman’s turn and he Read more ›

Posted in Life

PBS Video – Stories On Stage – New Beginnings

Sometimes we choose our new beginnings, but perhaps more often we are thrust into them.

Posted in Courage, Health, Inspiration

Spotlight on Mercia J. Tapping

By Diana Muñoz Stewart

only one life - don't waste it.Scrolling through my Facebook feed recently, I came across a post from a writer friend, Mercia J. Tapping. She posted about her Stories from the Stage appearance, an episode titled New Beginnings. In the episode, she talked about coming back after losing it all–a loving husband, successful business, and her own health. Her inspiring message, one echoed in her autobiography Only One Life: Don’t Waste It, demonstrates the resiliency of the human spirit as well as the very human need to connect with and help others. Mercia has been a clinical psychologist, a psychology professor, workshop leader, writer, and dancer–to name a few. Mercia is a warrior woman and as such is being feature in today’s Spotlight On post. Welcome, Mercia!

DMS: As you’ve said in your New Beginnings segment on Stories from the Stage, after you retired, you decided to join Toastmasters. You sat in the room for six months before getting up the courage to speak. Can you explain what led you to Toastmasters and what gave you the courage to try vocal storytelling? Read more ›

Posted in Inspiration, Life

Bulgaria Red-Handed

buglgaria red-handed, fine wine, china and rugs from gracious hosts
Occasionally when you are caught red-handed, you can actually turn it to your advantage.

When I was about 14 years old, my not so wealthy parents were somehow invited to be amongst the first ever private trade mission to Bulgaria, which was about to open its borders and travel industry to Western nations.

When they returned and were regaling me with tales of their trip, they spread a vast array of very expensive looking souvenirs all over the living room floor, which they explained were gifts from their grateful Bulgarian hosts. When I wondered aloud how all this stuff got through customs, they told me that their private plane was simply waved through.

The trip had been a series of stops at various Bulgarian castles, confiscated from royalty by the communist government. At each magnificent castle they were treated to a banquet at night, and the next day they climbed aboard their touring coach off to the next castle. And herein lies the story.

Early in the trip, the phone rang one morning in my parents’ room and they were told it was time to rise and have breakfast before the coach left for the day. My mother told my father that he could stay in bed a few minutes longer while she packed their suitcases. A minute later the phone rang.

“Mr. Tapping, you will get up now please!”.

My father, rather shaken, quickly complied. He had been caught red-handed! However, my mother was not at all perturbed and loudly remarked up to the ceiling that the wine over dinner the previous night had been exceptionally delicious and what a pity it was not for sale in England. It was not at all surprising to her that just before she boarded the coach, one of her hosts stepped up, bowed and said,

“Mrs. Tapping. Allow us to present to you a small gift from the Royal cellar. Some of the wine you had last night at dinner”

My mother of course graciously accepted, but she devised a plan, much to the silent embarrassment of my father. At each subsequent castle, after dinner each night, my mother would walk around the room, talking very loudly about their wonderful Bulgarian hosts and how much she admired certain items displayed in each castle. She started small, just admiring some china, but after she was ritually presented the next day with the object of her admiration, she grew bolder as the trip progressed. Her final trophy occurred after their final night when my mother tested the limits.

“What beautiful Persian rugs” She sighed loudly into the ceiling “I have always wanted rugs like those for our living room floor at home.” My father’s eyes were popping but she put her finger to her mouth to silence him.

And the next day, their host bowed deeply to my mother with a slight smile and said,

“Mrs. Tapping. I hope you will do us the honor of accepting these lovely Persian rugs for your home. We suggest the living room would be a fitting place for them.”

And that is how my father explained to his rather incredulous teenage daughter was how my mother turned being caught red-handed, very much to her advantage.

Posted in Life

The Marshmallow Gift

the marshmallow gift
Right after Herman’s death, I was very disturbed by what I felt was his spirit around me. It was a huge enveloping sensation. I fretted and chided myself. It must be the figment of the imagination of a grieving widow who could not accept the death of her husband. I paced my living room and angrily shouted up into the cathedral ceiling,

“Herman, if you are really there, show me, and in a way that I will know it is you”

Read more ›

Posted in God, Health, Inspiration, Miracles

Don’t Touch My Food!

don't touch my food, the reuben sandwich
I grew up in England where it was considered extremely impolite to touch someone else’s food. Food sharing was an emphatic no-no.

Then I moved to the United States, but old habits die hard.

My late husband, Herman and I, almost did not survive one of our early dates. He took me out to what he promised would be a real Jewish deli, and where I ordered a Reuben sandwich. It arrived in all its piled high magnificence! Herman looked rather longingly at my sandwich and asked

“Can I have a bite?”

Read more ›

Posted in Inspiration, Life


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