This Year Let’s Shape Our Own Reality in Ways that Matter

Oh, my goodness, 2020 has tested us like no other year.  Last year has not just challenged us as individuals, but the entire planet has been turned inside out.  The human species has faced obstacles unexperienced before.  The year’s crises have affected everyone in the world, not just a few select counties and communities.

Everyone has had to deal with not just the pandemic, but political turmoil and unrest, an economic crash, unemployment, racism, working from home, schooling from home, riots, illness and death, lockdowns, social distancing and touch deprivation (no handshakes or hugs), stimulus subsidies, travel restrictions, and uncertainty about the future.  For many, it was the most stressful year of their lives as we try to protect our families and to keep life as normal as possible.

When times are the toughest, that is when we need to be resilient and flexible. 

Research states that, in response to traumatic stress, about one-third of people develop PTSD.  Their minds fill with unwanted negative thoughts, creating fearful expectations as their brains slowly change.  The brain’s circuits that carry stress signals get bigger and move faster.  High cortisol (fight-or-flight hormone) degrades both their health and cognitive function.  In extreme cases, calcium forms deposits on the brain’s memory and learning center, and it wastes away.

Something that is under-appreciated is that about two-thirds of people don’t develop PTSD.  Many of us experience what might be called (PTG) post-traumatic growth.  The adversity creates a pressure that actually drives us to create better, richer, and fuller lives for ourselves.  The stress fires up the brain’s holistic enlightenment network, which expands and gets bigger and faster.  Suddenly we are thinking and intuitively reacting from our center, our heart, that may not have even acknowledged before.

Finding and zeroing in on that heart-center can make a huge, positive difference. In the midst of fear and uncertainty, that centered base can fill life with compassion and gratitude.  Research suggests that intentionally transposing fear into positivity will:

  • Lower heart rate and blood pressure
  • Boost immunity antibodies
  • Reduce stress neurochemical like cortisol (fight-or-flight)
  • Activate anti-inflammation and anti-cancer genes
  • Increase happiness
  • Decrease anxiety and depression
  • Reduce pain and auto-immune symptoms

This is what resilience – both mental and physical- looks like.  It is the opposite of stress.

After the first few days of the Pandemic, I intentionally turned off all news on the television and turned on music.  I refused to let what was happening in the world, upset “my world”.  If I had to go out to the store, I used caution, but I did so to apply a level of protection for others, not out of fear for myself. 

Once I got home and into my safe environment where I was in control, the music went on, I worked on the computer, I traded the market, and hung out in the chatrooms, and we all remained positive and upbeat. 

It has become a joke, and traders wait for how I am going to welcome each day.  It is Wonderful Wednesday or Thriving Thursday.  We are in charge of the reality we create for ourselves, what we buy into and allow to color our lives.  Early on I realized that being negative in any way wasn’t going to positively help my family, my neighbors or community.  Truly, it is the complete opposite.  Being positive and happy lifts the people I care about, and that positivity expands well beyond them.

This new year take deliberate action to cultivate resilience in your life.  Settle back and decide what is truly important.  Listen to music, laugh, love, enjoy what is happening right this second because anything beyond this moment is in the future and isn’t guaranteed.  Don’t miss out on what is happening now.

Live deliberately.

What I want for you as you move into 2021 is a life full of peace, happiness, creativity and awe.  I celebrate these qualities in my own personal space here in my small cabin in Western North Carolina, and I get excited about sharing these concepts with as many people as possible in the chatrooms and here online.   

My husband Jack used to tease that I live in my own world where I continually work on building a blissful brain.  Truthfully, he was right!

As you shine your light into the areas of your life, everything around you is illuminated.  As a community, let’s shine our collective lights and light up the world.  I look forward to a wonderful year ahead which I hope to share with you in every joy-filled possible way!

Have a wonderful, thriving 2021!

Repurpose the Pandemic!

It is Time to Thrive – Not Simply Survive

The Stay-Home order and the subsequent slow return to “normal” has been a real eye-opener for many, especially people who have lost their jobs or had to close their business.  I think the hardest part for many is not knowing if this is apt to be a one-time event or the first of many closures.

  • What if the virus flares up again in the Fall?
  • What if it mutates and those who had the virus and fared well are not immune to a new strain?
  • Is this indeed a new way of life?
  • How long will it take for employers to not just reopen but to “fully” staff again?

I feel very blessed and fortunate in that little has changed for me. My day are not much different than they were several months ago. I wake up in the morning, fix a cup of tea, sit on the deck on my mountain-top home, enjoy the view until I am ready to start my day by checking the stock market, and perhaps, looking for potential new trades on the computer.  I work until I am satisfied with my work and then I read or garden and play with the dogs.

Life for me wasn’t always like this.  Sixteen years ago, an unfortunate event that to my family and the region I worked in was as devastating as the pandemic.  A flood hit the shop my husband and I operated for nearly 20 years and wiped it out. Back then, out of work and broke as a twig, I took a couple classes and taught myself option trading on the stock market.

Since then, I have not only had financial security, knowing that I could enter an option trade in almost any market, but there has been a level of mental and emotional comfort knowing that nothing, except maybe health, could ever again take away my ability to earn a living. I am in control! I can work wherever I have access to a computer… from home, my kids’ houses, or while traveling or on vacation. (I am looking forward to being able to travel again.)

I am living my dream!

To learn to trade options, you don’t need a financial degree, a college education, or a business background.  You just need the desire to learn something new and a willingness to put in a little time to take in new concepts that are not hard to grasp.

As a way to say thank you, in addition to teaching about trading, I do my best to help others who want the same security option trading offers.  If this speaks to you, please check out – Exploring Your Options ( I explain the process in an understandable way, whittling away the jargon intentionally designed to confuse, so the specialists can charge the hefty fees. 

Give yourself permission to Repurpose the Pandemic. Achieve YOUR dreams!

To your success –


I was broke, and my livelihood was nearly destroyed, so how did I achieve financial independence? How did I get here…?

Not too long ago, nobody involved in the stock market or option trading knew who I was.

After a devastating flood wiped out our family gift shop business, I let Jack (my husband) contend with the repairs and renovations, and I decided to pursue a new career as an option trader. I honestly had no clue how to begin.

So, day after day and night after night, after five brief (2-hour) introductory option classes, I taught myself how to read charts, how to use an online broker, how to read candlesticks and patterns, how to interpret an option chain, how to select the correct expiration – and how to pay the overflowing bills that came whether our business was opened or closed.

Facebook and YouTube were just a few years old, and “online trading” was in its infancy at the time.

Little by little, the pieces began to fall into place.  Every stumbling block or foreign aspect was met by determination to solve the mystery, conquer the concept, and make it work for me.

After five years, I learned the elements that were important and what was intended to keep me – along with other traders – confused and on unsure footing. If we could trade for ourselves, we didn’t need brokers and financial specialists’ advice, and we didn’t need them to handle our trades for us and charge high management fees.

Eventually, I started winning more trades than I lost and made more money than Jack and I ever earned working long hours seven days a week at our gift shop.

In 2009, I started writing my first book on a fold-out table upstairs in the gift shop during the day and at home at night.  My approach was to teach my friend Virginia McCullough to trade options.  I would write down the important nuggets that were needed to trade successfully and cut out all the nonsense designed to confuse.  I knew, if I could teach Virginia, I could teach others.

If Virginia didn’t understand something or needed clarification, I rewrote or added to that section or topic until the subject was clear, and she understood and was able to apply the concepts.

I wanted more than anything to write and inspire other women to improve to their financial circumstances through option trading. If I could learn to trade without having a financial education, so could other women.  Women working as teachers could trade during summer vacation, retirees could trade and add to their social security income, stay-at-home moms could trade during kids’ nap times, working women could choose trade candidates in the evening and place trades online.

I learned during this trading and writing process that many of us are averse to change, and we sabotage ourselves with negative self-talk.  We have our core “belief system” (which I now call “BS”) that can limit or attack our efforts to advance and improve our life circumstances.  These beliefs can be our own, or they can be imposed upon us by others. Either way, these beliefs encourage us to wallow in the status quo and do whatever is necessary to avoid change, even if it means remaining in deprived life.

When I faced the walls of the corner that Jack and I had painted ourselves into back during the time of the flood, I wasn’t happy with the alternatives that our life had to offer.  We had everything tied up in the gift shop… our income, 25 years of life-effort-equity, non-existent savings and retirement … and it had all been wiped out. We stood on the edge of bankruptcy and homelessness.

So I decided to learn how to improve my life and our family’s financial future.

Honestly, when I began this dream of trading it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. I quickly failed, realizing after my first option trading classes that I had learned just enough to be dangerous.

Yet, I was convinced that option trading held the key to improving our life.  I had a great deal of my own “BS” to dispose of, and, believe me, my beliefs and fears used every method available to suggest I was insane to jump into a new career, something I had no education to support – and, besides, at the age of 56, maybe I was too old to learn something new.

I had no money to invest. Geez, I was in debt up to my ears. It got so bad I used money we’d set aside for the electric bill at the shop to pay for those first trading classes, but then the electric was off due to the flood, so why not?

I was thankful that Jack was able to work on drying out the shop, making repairs, and painting. We had a place to live, but our cottage was so small that I used the dining room table as my extended desk, where I stacked all our bills and my trading notebooks, laced with fears that needled me with new concepts.

One night, Jack and I held each other and cried under the weight of our bills. It broke my heart.

But it also made me face the reality.

I decided that I MUST change the situation and pursue my dreams with more intention and purpose.

I decided to think bigger, to stop letting our small business experience make me small-minded.

I decided not to worry about critics, including myself, who said I was crazy. I wanted to share what I had learned, but I couldn’t help but think, “Just because I taught myself to trade options and had made some money doing it didn’t mean I could write a book about it. After all, I wasn’t a writer.”

However, instead of worrying about how to write a book and how to get it published, I just proceeded and wrote it, teaching my friend how to trade. I formed a local women’s trading group, and we learned together. I gave my whole heart to learning every aspect of trading, and I began teaching other people who wanted positivity, progress and financial independence in their life.

I studied successful traders, practiced teaching the techniques I’d learned, and I worked each and every day at becoming the person, trader, and contributor or mentor I knew I could be.

Today, everything has changed. It’s because of a lot of work and a go-for-it attitude.

  • Our gift shop was restored, conducted business until 2012 when it was sold and Jack retired.
  • Our retirement account has been fully funded.
  • Option Trading in Your Spare Time, my first book, was published in 2010.
  • 14 Option Trading Strategy books have been published by TradeWins Publishing
  • We’ve paid off our cottage in town and the cabin 30 miles north in the mountains.  We also purchased the 100 acres and lodge (guest residence) surrounding our cabin, which is located on top of a mountain.
  • My You-tube videos help new traders, and my webinars are well attended by both new and seasoned traders.
  • I publish a chart list viewed every day by hundreds of traders.
  • I offer five subscription services for people who need more direct support in their trading
  • Every day, I moderate a real-time trading chatroom with traders around the world.

Other things have changed as well.

That tiny fold-out table where I wrote my first book is gone with the sale of the shop.

Now I trade and write in my dream library on a fancy desk, overlooking a valley of farm land and far-reaching mountain ranges stretching 30 miles as the crow flies. Even rainy days bring vivid rainbows.

I’m blessed to share author space, speaking platforms, and webinars with the great option traders who I studied and share my trade techniques with traders around the globe.

And, finally, I don’t have to eat cheap noodle dinners or watch my family struggle anymore.

I guess you could say that, as Facebook and YouTube matured and defined itself, so did I.

This became a bigger calling and business that I decided to really become vested in because I saw its impact on my readers and subscribers. It changes lives.

There’s no doubt that you guys made these results happen because you let a feisty old woman like me follow my dreams, cheer you on, and you absorbed my ideas and incorporated them with your own and shared my work.

And that’s why, in my books, I break it all down for you and tell you how I did it. I’m always reminding you that you can do it, too, and I continually try to create innovative strategies to help us both reach new levels.

At the beginning, there were just a few of you, five or ten. And then there were fifty. Then a hundred, then a thousand, and then, as I stayed with it for five years, every single day with full belief in the possibilities and gratitude for my early success that put me on this path and a dedication to excellence and serving others… well, here we are.

And so I say this to you, my friend:

Never limit the vision you have for your life based on your current circumstances or competencies.

You are more powerful, capable, and stronger than you imagine.

I had no reason to believe that I could one day live my dream as an option trader and writer; no reason to believe, I suppose, except that my heart told me it was my path, except that my mind invented dreams that felt so real, that my belief said all the struggle and the hardship, and the hard work would be worth it.

Please, my friends, believe in your heart and your conviction and your goal even when it’s difficult.

The journey to success begins the moment we set aside our preference for what is easy and let our drive for challenge and change overpower our fears and negative belief system (“BS”). From there, deeper understanding comes when you share your gifts with others.

Don’t forget that growth often come from events that may seem negative (like a life-changing flood) and many seemingly endless, fruitless days and nights of faith and discipline.

Option trading can change lives through the possibility of financial independence. Keep working, keep at it, do the part that you can do, and believe the rest will happen.

No matter how small you start, start.  Start something that will change your future.

Market Trends: Something to Bear or a Bunch of Bull?

The terms “bullish” and “bearish” are terms that are bandied about stock market gurus and financial commentators with great regularity, particularly in today’s market, which has been ripe with bearish reversals and bullish rebounds. New option traders often hear these discussions and are uncertain about the real impact of these trends. Let’s touch on this just briefly.

Consider this – If Google or some other major industry comes to your town and brings new jobs and adds money to the economy, then chances are the other businesses in your area will experience an increase in business. If your town loses a major employer, the other local businesses may report a decrease in business because less money is circulating.

In the same way, economic trends influence Wall Street, and stocks have a herd effect, so to speak. When economic trends are on the rise and equities are increasing in value because investors are confident in the economic future of the market, then we’re said to be in a “bull market,” or traders are said to be “bullish”. On the other hand, in times of economic distress or uncertainty, or a dramatic event makes the market “jittery,” then stocks may decline in value, and analysts say we’re in a “bear market,” or traders are “bearish”.

Stocks rise and fall on a daily basis, and you don’t assign the terms “bull” or “bear” based on one day or a week’s performance – and the terms are relative as well. The market can be “bearish” for a period of time when other economic forecasts seem uncertain. On the other hand, the market can turn “bullish” when certain indicators point to economic expansion.

In a bull market, when the overall market is going up, successful option traders buy and sell their Call Options. It is counterproductive to go against the flow of the market, or, to express this concept another way, it doesn’t make sense to ignore the upward bias of the market.

Likewise, in a bear market, when the overall market is trending to lower stock prices, then successful option traders consider purchasing and selling their Put Options.

The past four days in the market have brought bearish reversals with the major indices opening high and then ending each day with small gains or incremental losses. With the current volatility in the market, short-term option traders can make gains on all this price movement. However, it will be important to use a specific trade strategy with clear entry/exit signals to avoid being fooled by short-term market corrections and trend reversals that only benefit day traders.

Still honing your trading skills? Not to worry. Kirkland Trading Academy offers a variety of products to support your learning process. Visit for details and follow our blog for quick e-learning updates.

Can Option Trading Really Change Lives?

Asheville FloodI am so glad you found your way to our site.

What’s the difference between fate and destiny? Can you alter one or the other?

How much power do we really have in our lives?

Everyone has an opinion on that, and I’m not sure mine is better than anyone else’s.

I do know that those who are drawn to the stock market and its potential to financially change people’s lives often arrive through four different paths.

We may have someone in our family who is involved in the market. A father or grandfather. We may be introduced by way of education, in college. We may come to it through our employment.

And, then there are those of us who are drawn to the stock market by way of financial need.

It was financial need that brought me to the stock market and option trading in 2004. 

When I was 55 years of age, the gift shop business my husband and I had poured our energy into for 25 years was flooded by Tropical Storm Frances, and, two weeks later after initial clean up, Tropical Storm Ivan whacked us again.  Everything was wiped out.  We had no flood insurance. It’s doesn’t flood in the mountains of Western North Carolina!

Inventory was gone, displays, furniture, equipment, books, and back-up stock. Twenty-five years of financial investment and sweat equity were gone.  To compound the problem, we didn’t have the money to bring it back by repairing the shop and replacing merchandise. Honestly, we didn’t have the means to pay the bills that the postman placed in the box every afternoon.  Homelessness loomed in our future.

How do you start over at 55 years of age?

A friend took me out to lunch to perk up my spirits, and, during our meal, she mentioned option trading.  The words were foreign to me.  I knew about the stock market; my father was an economics professor. Stacks of Wall Street Journals were placed in dining room chairs as adjustable booster seats for my four younger brothers and sisters growing up as a kid. 

My friend mentioned profits and percentage gains that were unheard of in the gift shop business. 

Typical negative self-talk ran through my mind – I am too old to start something new.  I don’t have the needed education.  I have a shop to clean up; I can’t find the time to learn something new.  Not only don’t I have the time, I don’t have the energy to tackle something new.  I was afraid I’d fail and those who thought I was crazy to even consider something so foolish would be proven right.

Nonetheless, I held my desire to break out of the mess we were in for three beats longer than the defeating self-talk, and I recklessly took the money that had been set aside for the electric bill to pay for an option trading class.  After all, the electric wouldn’t be back on for months anyway.

This “Three Beats Longer” has become a success philosophy in and of itself, but I will save that for another post.

Option trading was a good fit for me. Oh, goodness, I made plenty of rookie mistakes along the way, but, before too long, I was earning more money than we ever made through sales in gift shop (which we were able to bring back for my husband Jack.  He sold the business 8 years later and was able to retire).

The point of all this is, if all the negative self-talk and friendly naysayers had kept me from stretching and moving into uncomfortable foreign territory, then I would have missed the chance to realize that what seemed like disaster was really a blessing in disguise and an opportunity to grow and experience wonders that would never have been possible otherwise.

Imagine that, I came to think of a flood as a God-sent blessing.

I have since learned that, when I am too comfortable in my life, I become stuck and complacent, like most people. It is when I feel uncertainty and am a little uncomfortable that I am breaking the boundary to new growth and exciting new possibilities.

Perhaps, you, too, are at a turning point and need a new financial path. Option trading could be new territory for you.  If so, I want you to know that, as a way to repay the blessings I have received, I have cut away all the confusing jargon and concepts that are designed to confuse new traders so that they have no choice but to turn to the “supposed” experts and their high fees.

The educational materials you find here are written in simple everyday language as if you and I were talking across the kitchen table.

I commend you for being here! For taking the first step and breaking out of your comfort zone!  You can do this!