A young widow with three small sons, Alexandra Van Horn inspires others to own their innate abilities and create a life they love. She talks about being an author, life coach, special needs teacher, minister, and grandmother.
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Life Coach Alexandra Van Horn On Living With Gratitude
Beautiful day, beautiful souls. This is Charla Anderson, host of The Charla Anderson Show, collector and connector of fascinating people, and everyone is fascinating, especially YOU. I am so glad you’re here with us. We’re on this incredible Win Win Women platform. We’re on the Podetize, going global on these streaming services. This is a fun platform. You may not have ever heard of Win Win Women before now but you will be hearing of it and from it. We will be doing global events around the world for International Women’s Day. It’s going to be something. Thanks for joining us.
I’m going to have a wonderful conversation with Alexandra Van Horn here but at the end, we will open it up to conversation. A lot of people may not know. I always start my show with a 22-second mini-meditation. It’s to help me get settled and grounded. It’s to help you get settled and grounded. It’s seven seconds of breathing in calm, holding for four seconds, and then breathing out gratitude. It doesn’t take long but you can use it often throughout the day. In this crazy world we’re in, it’s probably not a bad idea.
Join me as we take a little breath, a mini meditation, a mini vacation, or a retreat. Here we go. We’re going to breathe in calm for seven seconds. Hold. Release. Thank you. Don’t you feel better? I know I do. It’s great to have you here with us. I’m so excited to get to interview and talk with Alexandra Van Horn, an incredible overcomer. She and I have similar messages about making a difference and helping people live a life of complete peace. Who doesn’t want a life where you can stay out of the upset? Doesn’t that make sense? You’re in Florida, Alexandra. Would you tell me a little bit about who you are, and then we will talk about what you do?
My title would be called Transformational Life Coach. I’m a certified DreamBuilder Coach and Life Mastery Consultant with the Brave Thinking Institute. I’m also an ordained interfaith minister, which happened in the early ’90s after I was widowed with three little boys. That’s part of my story. What I do now is help others get through their day because when I was widowed, my sons were 4, 6, and 8. I was like, “How do we get through the day?” Initially, it was overwhelming. How do you get through it?
I thought, “The three most important things are this. Do we have food in the fridge to get through the meals? We’re good. Do we have reasonably clean clothes? We’re good. Is the rent or mortgage paid for the month?” Anything else I got done, I considered gravy. You have to pick your battles. It’s those three things. Anything else I got done was great. If I was on top of the laundry, or the house was organized, that was even better. I learned how to be gentle with myself with things like that.
I was ordained in ‘95, and then I had been teaching the principles or living the principles. My sons were little. I was a full-time mom but I used the principles that I share now about mindset and making choices. This happened in the ’80s. I had what I experienced as a calling because I was getting into prayer and meditation. I married my high school sweetheart. After we had built a house together, we had three sons, and he was working longer hours. It was hard for both of us. He was committed to being a super provider. I was committed to being a super mom. We started pulling apart that way. It was hard.
I dug into prayer and meditation to work through the challenges, the pain, and the disappointment of how things were going. In 1988, I had what I consider a calling where I saw that I was getting answers. I would pray and get an answer. It was a beautiful experience. We look like we start here and end at our toes and our fingertips. That is so not true. We’re children of God. God is moving through us at all times, and we have to attune to it. We have a choice. That was such a profound life-changing experience. That’s why I started sharing about it.
Here are some of the things that I came upon over the years. First of all, miracles were instrumental in my life. One of the messages that has helped a lot is when you’re experiencing a situation, or you see a situation that could be upsetting. One of the teachings is that I could see peace instead of this, which gives you the opportunity to raise your vision to another level. That has been profound for me over the years. It doesn’t mean you don’t take action. If somebody is hurt, you look above the battlefield. You do what you can or what’s appropriate at that moment.
Are you familiar with Michael Singer? I ran across him, which was astounding to me as much personal development I’ve done over the years. If you hone down on the core of who he seems to be and his message, something happens. Upset draws upset. When you’re running late, then you hit the tire curb, and then you have to get an alignment. Everything draws upset. When something happens, which it does, you can take that moment, relax, release, and let it go because if it’s already happened, then there’s nothing you can do to change that. Relax, release, and let it go, and then you can handle the situation from a much calmer perspective. Here you are. Somebody cut me off. I’m mad. Relax, release, let it go, and go, “They probably need to go to the bathroom more than I do or something.”
They’re rushing to the hospital. You never know what’s going on.
You don’t know. To take it personally on something like that which has already happened is a little bit insane. We think of what’s happening to us after billions of years and billions of incidents over the trillions of incidents. If your great-great-great-great grandparents hadn’t met because of the rain and the storm, you wouldn’t be here. It’s a miracle when we stop to think about it. You and I can have this conversation, and an infinite number of things from, “Let there be light,” until now could have changed that.
It’s one little decision somebody made. They turned left instead of right. They wouldn’t have met your grandmother. I get off on that because it seems like we are not taught that. I don’t feel like we’re taught that the only place we have is where we are right this second. We can’t change anything in the past, not even the last second or last generation but it gives us an opportunity to have the choice to change the next step. You ran across all that early on. I was still very in a fundamental mindset early in the ’80s but I was easing my way out of that a while ago because I don’t think God has a box.
I used to say, “You can’t put God in a box.”
He didn’t have one.
Traditional religion attempts to put God in a box.
It’s very divisive for everyone. If God is love, He can’t be not love. That’s where you and I are very similar. You were widowed with three young sons. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. Was it an illness or an accident?
He had colon and liver cancer. I have my story about why this or that. Maybe it was supposed to be the way it went. Who knows? He worked super long hours with three hours of sleep on and on. He was passing blood for a while. He traveled. He was in clinical research. Whenever he went away, I would pick something in the house or a project to work on. I’ll change a light fixture or get a bedroom painted.
He was away in Switzerland for this last trip. He came home, and usually, he would go, “Wow.” I would show him what I did. It was this thing. I showed him our bedroom. I had the bedroom redone. He’s like, “Nice.” I said, “That’s not like you.” He said, “I passed a lot of blood this time.” For the umpteenth time, I said to him, “Go to the doctor.” It wasn’t a new thing. I kept on saying maybe he was afraid to go.
Long story short, he was operated on in August and passed in December ’91. It was a journey. I remember when the surgeon was explaining the details to me when he called me into the special waiting room after he attempted to do the surgery. He laid it on the line and said, “We can try a few rounds of chemo.”
My thinking was, “Why should he suffer? Let it go quickly.” He had a couple of rounds of chemo and then passed in December. I was angry, “He should have done this. He should have done that. I should have done this. I didn’t say this. I should have. If I had left him when he was working those long hours, maybe he would have realized.” Could-have, would-have, and should-have.
That’s another way that I like to say it. Let’s deal with what’s so because we can’t change any of those other things. Should-have, could-have, and would-have is pretty much wasted effort.
I blame even the school system. We’re taught that way, “Figure it out. How do we get to this number in math?” Everything is analytical. We’re taught to be analytical all along, and then sometimes being analytical doesn’t work. You have to accept it.We are taught to figure things out along the way. Everything is analytical and political, and sometimes, it just doesn’t work. Click To Tweet
That must have been incredibly hard. With three young sons, you became an unexpected young widow or single mom. I love what you said. You focused on the three basic things that you needed to get through each and every day, which was sometimes probably all you could consider. How did the boys turn out? Did they all react differently?
My middle son was six. I remember when we knew. I said, “Daddy is not coming home now. He died or passed away.” I don’t know what word I used. My little son said, “Are we going to get a new daddy?” It was like, “Are we getting a replacement?” I said, “If we need one, God will send us one.” He seemed to accept that answer. I looked and shopped but didn’t find any suitable replacements.
I’m sure there’s still some time. I’m like, “I need to figure out who I am and what I want to do when I grow up.” I’ll be 70 in 2023. I’m not in any rush if there’s somebody who shows up.
That’s how I feel.
It would have to be completely organic because I don’t have one inkling to go digging around and looking for somebody. I would have to be doing something I love to do, and somebody else could be doing what they love to do.
I dabbled with some of the apps and everything. You can’t trust some of the profiles.
I know many people who have found wonderful relationships. It’s not all-or-nothing but it’s not for me. I have too much to do.
That’s how I feel. I don’t want anybody interrupting what I have going on. If there was someone who was in alignment with the work that I’m doing and we could be a good power team, that’s another scenario.
At one time, I did finally make a list. I never made a list. I was like, “What would I want?” The top three were God, love God, and love people. It’s a mutual partnership. We continue to raise each other’s dreams and visions. One person did not have that capacity. I love myself. I love life. I love making a difference wherever I can. You do too.
I don’t want to have to compromise any time with them. I don’t want to have to check in with someone.
You get permission and all that stuff. I believe that there’s a possibility of soulmates and all that stuff but I don’t care. I’m not in a rush. You’ve evolved. You’ve gone through ministry and coaching. You’re going through all these different things. You’re doing now more direct one-on-one coaching. What is it called again?
Live Well Long Coach. My goal is the one-on-one coaching. That’s the bread-and-butter part, as well as doing speaking. I have a vision of speaking to as many people as possible to get the message out about the power of our words, how we can change our thoughts, the different ways we can shift our mindset when things are not going the way we expected or anticipated, and also how to shift our mindset to raise ourselves to better results than what we have.
How do you find your clients? What is your main focus?
My main focus is people who are at a crossroads or somebody who is retired. I use the term suddenly single. Maybe they’re divorced or widowed, and they need to create what’s next but they need the wind at their back or a good sounding board to help them move forward. Oftentimes, the people that we are surrounded by are those that know us from the past. They already have a preconceived notion of who we are, what we can accomplish, and what’s good for us. Everybody has their own mindset about things. They have this dream that they haven’t lived out yet, and they want to accomplish that. The people around them may not necessarily be the best people to support them in reaching their dreams.
Your market is very similar to mine. I like the suddenly single, “Is this all there is?” Here I am. I retired from a 34-year career years ago. Now, what? I have something in my heart I want to share. I’ve got a message. I’ve got to serve and to lift fellowmen. As we all recognize, it feels like chaos. Our world doesn’t seem very much normal. When you and I were raised, there was at least some structure that was more normal. That has gone out the window. It’s not all bad but it is different.
Everyone pretty much feels a little unsettled. Even with the lockdown during the pandemic, we were all shaken to our core, “We can’t go here. We can’t congregate.” That was a rough thing to go through. There’s some trauma that everybody is carrying around. They’re still trying to move forward. That needs to be looked at. There’s a grief process that we all need to acknowledge because things have shifted. Even though lockdown is over and people are going out, people are saying, “COVID is not behind us.” Things are different. It’s important to have these tools to help if there’s isolation, loneliness, or concern about the future.
I call it unsteady times. Our goal is to help folks through these unsteady times because our circumstances don’t define us although a lot of people allow them to. Our circumstances are not who we are. I’m sure that is included in your message as well. Out there, if you can take a deep breath, be at peace, and have a centeredness to take the next step, you can deal with these things a lot better and start recognizing that there is a way to be peaceful and not be complaining and offended all the time. All of that is superficial and external.
It’s so important to develop our personal mind control, controlling our minds so that we don’t spiral negatively. The three things that I always teach are gratitude, forgiveness, and vision. Have a vision or goals and dreams to move forward. One of the pictures I like to use to help people remember is a sailboat. The sail on the ship is gratitude. When you have a practice of gratitude, it lifts you. You usually can’t be grateful and angry at the same time. Your mind can’t hold both of those thoughts.
We have a morning gratitude practice and even one before bed, “What am I grateful for?” It could be as simple as my warm slippers, the roof over my head, or a big and fancy thing. Gratitude uplifts our minds. There’s a saying, which is true, “Where attention goes, energy flows.” The more we’re grateful, the more things we find to be grateful for.
I think of the sail on a ship, and then I think of forgiveness as pulling up the anchor because when you forgive, you’re free. There’s a whole conversation around forgiveness. I look at it as accepting what is. There’s a saying that says, “To forgive, one must first have judged.” The sooner we get to acceptance of what is, we have pulled up the anchor and released it. Mark Twain has a quote that I love, “Forgiveness is the scent of violet leaves on the heel that has crushed it.” In the instant that the violet is crushed, the fragrance is emitted.
This is another synchronicity in our message. First of all, gratitude is the highest emotion you can have. I wake up in the night and go, “Thank you,” not thinking about what I’m thankful for but that is my mantra. It keeps the energies going higher. I had this whole vision of a meme that I haven’t done yet. It’s like, “God is love. If you love God, yourself, and others, it requires gratitude and forgiveness.” Gratitude is the key but forgiveness is lifting the anchor. I love that analogy.
The visions, goals, and dreams would be the rudder with direction.
How can you do that? Can you give an example? What would you say to someone who’s like, “That’s not reality?” You hear that a lot. I say this. I am outrageously optimistic that the world is getting better because, honestly, if I look that way, mine is. How can you encourage someone? It’s my reality.
The thing is I also believe that we can’t change anyone specifically. If they are interested, or if they’re saying, “That’s not reality,” they’re not open. I say, “God, send me somebody that I can help, somebody who’s open and curious.”
Drop a few drops of water or seeds. We know it has been scientifically proven that complaining over and over builds a rut. You want to do some exercises to break that negative habit.
It has even been proven scientifically that gratitude increases the serotonin in our brains.
There’s Bruce Lipton, Gregg Braden, and Dr. Dispenza, I love those guys. There are incredible resources out here. Your job and my job is to guide people who are open, “Something is not working. What can I do differently?” The resources and the encouragement are incredible. A friend called me. She goes, “I’m in a funk. I don’t know what to do.”
I was like, “You’re in an analysis paralysis. What if we had fun?” She was trying to make a decision. Ultimately, some of the things don’t matter in the big scheme of things. She was trying to find a title or something. I was like, “Cut them up, draw five of them out, lay them out, make a decision, and have fun. Make it a game.”
That’s so true. One of the key questions that I ask clients is, “What would you love?” Much of our life has not been about what we love. It has been, “Go to school. Do your homework. Get a degree. Get the best grades you can get,” or the instructions to do well, “Get a good job.” That’s the first 20, 30, or 40 years of our lives but if we ask the question, “What would you love?” it takes it right here.
It can be something simple. If someone is in a funk, it could be something simple, “Who would you love to have for dinner tonight? What would be the best meal tonight?” Keep it right here and keep it sensational as far as the taste and everything. Many of us have not been told about self-care and self-love besides brushing our teeth and taking our daily showers. Self-love and self-care are so important.
It’s not selfish. Selfish is taking care of self. I wasn’t taught that. When you become self-involved or self-centered, that’s a different story. I have an analogy that I love. You have the cup and saucer. If anybody younger than us doesn’t know what a saucer is, it’s your latte. I heard this decades ago. You pour the cup full until overflowing and then serve out of the saucer. You have to keep your cup full so that you have the overflow to serve. It’s very sweet. How do people find you? How can we keep this conversation going for people who are ready to make a better life for themselves?
I have two things that they can do. First of all, my website is AVHCoaching.com. They could go to my website. There’s a button there where it says, “Book a session.” You can book a free 30-minute session. If they want to get a little bit of information, they can put in AVHCoaching.com/hacks. They will get a document, 10 Mindset Hacks for Challenging Times.
You’re all over Facebook and LinkedIn. I always like to have somebody say their favorite quote or what they’re known for. I know you’ve got 1 or 2.
I coined one a long time ago, and because I thought of it, maybe somebody else wrote it too. That is, “Everyone is at their frontier.” We’re tempted to judge someone. They’re at their frontier. It helps to realize that they’re doing their absolute best from what they have had in life up to this moment, even if we look at it and say, “Are they crazy?” That’s one. Everyone is at their frontier. The other one is, “If God loves this person, which is the assumption that God loves all of us, what’s my problem with them? What’s my issue?”
The harder they are to love, the more they need it. God loves them. I believe that there’s no one that God doesn’t love. I believe He’s a part of all of us. They don’t love themselves enough to treat others well. That’s a sad state.
It could be from their upbringing too. They never got that certain love. It’s an evolution.
Our job is to love them anyway. I have multiple sayings in the book Candy Bar Hugs, “Everybody deserves unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness, not unconditional boundaries.” We have a couple of guests that have joined us. Let me go ahead and close out this portion of the show, and then we will open you up to have a conversation. What I like to say toward the end is this. You’re perfect exactly who and where you are. There’s nothing you can do to make yourself be loved more or less by God or me. I always want to end with this. I love you. Be blessed and choose joy.
I’m excited. It’s fun to have participants.
Amavi and Violet.
Hi, Violet. Who else?
Somebody named Amavi.
Violet, how did you find out about the show here?
I am a host.
Thanks for joining us. I haven’t had a lot of experience with the guests. I’m grateful for you to join us. What is the name of your show?
Create A Life You Love: The Blueprint. Alexandra, when you were talking about love, there was so much Joe Dispenza. Everything is right in the area that I am talking about. That’s why I logged in and for other reasons. My show is called Create A Life You Love. I wrote a book, and that’s the title of the book as well. When I wrote the title, I got a lot of pushback. I kept hearing, “Create A Life You Want.” People were afraid of love. They don’t believe that they can have something they love.
What you said was so powerful. I summed it up because Create A Life You Love is a personal story about why I wrote the book. I also wrote a blueprint for others. Live On your Vision Every day because when you love yourself, and you’re living on your vision every day, it makes you happy. You can love your neighbor and yourself. The love expands. I love what you said. That is so true. I couldn’t believe it when I heard you say that.
I love that you have an acronym for the word LOVE. That’s a very empowering acronym.
It came after I wrote the book. When I started the show, that’s when it came to me. I’m listening to Joe Dispenza, having a gratitude mindset, and knowing that those things are a practice every day.
It’s a muscle. This is the reality. Who cares? I don’t care.
They don’t realize how powerful they are.
It’s wonderful. There are a lot of us, especially in the Win Win Women community with the show hosts. A lot of us have that mindset of lifting each other and encouragement. Don’t you feel like that is the case?
When is your show?
My show is on Thursdays at 2:00.
What time zone?
I’m Central Time, and she’s Eastern Time. We always have to say the time zone.
I have on there Pacific. I’m on the West Coast. I’m in California.
That’s great. It’s 4:00 my time, and 5:00 your time. Alexandra, too.
I know Lori Raupe. I became a part of Win Win Women through her years ago but I started my show in July 2023. Can you believe it? Everything was timing. My book wasn’t even done at the time. I didn’t even know what the title was. It was just a divine connection. That’s how it started. I have a show. I was looking for a guest host. Lori was connecting me with some women who were believers.
That’s not the only criterion. They’re people of faith.
You want it along the same lines, and then I saw your show.
I’m honored because there are a lot of shows out there. We don’t know where it’s going. Honestly, I don’t have any attachment to where it’s going. I have an attachment to showing up and doing our weekly effort on this particular thing. I am encouraging Alexandra to consider being a show host. She has what it takes. Maybe we will have a conversation about that too. It’s fun.
I’m looking for a guest host, someone to host my show.
Do you have it promoted? How do you promote it, Violet?
I promote on my Facebook and Instagram. I message individuals. I’m sending out emails at this time. I will get there. I do have constant contact email lists. I’m building my email list. However, I didn’t want anything to hold me back. I go to a studio, Hera Hub, a shared workspace for women. They did an article on me. That was encouraging. I was like, “This is what I’m supposed to be. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
I decided not to do it from home. That was holding up because I wanted things to look a certain way. I was led to that location, and now I’m an ambassador for that location as well. It’s a business organization for women. That’s another connection. There you have it. This may be my eighth show. I had my first guest. I have people lining up to be guests. I have a book, Create A Life You Love. It’s on Amazon. What you spoke about love is a lot.
That’s the main problem, even when you think about the horrendous things that we hear about in the news that happen here and there in our world. It’s because there’s this inner belief that they’re not loved. They act out and cause harm. It’s heartbreaking because they haven’t realized the love within them or that they’re loved.The horrendous things that happen in the world are because of people’s inner belief that they are not loved. Many simply don’t realize that there is love within them and they are always loved. Click To Tweet
They don’t love themselves enough. I tell my grandkids, “Bullies they don’t love themselves enough to know how to treat other people.” They’re victims too. We don’t want abuse at all but understanding that we don’t have to be offended by every single thing would strengthen some of that instead of being the victim of all these things going on. What if they needed a friend? Give them food for thought and critical thinking skills. I don’t have to take it personally. The Four Agreements is the number one book I recommend more than anything else.
I read that book. It’s very good.
Don’t take it personally.
If people don’t get to that information, that’s the thing. I read The Four Agreements. I was teaching years ago as a teacher. My students are now adults. However, I had a combo class. I would read parts of The Four Agreements to them daily. They wind up telling me during The Four Agreements, “Why are you a teacher? What are you doing here? You need to be out there sharing this information with the world.” This was years ago. Look at what’s happening now.
It needs a lot of people like us to shout from the mountaintops to all who will hear it.
They are ready to receive and drop seeds otherwise. It doesn’t take much to make a difference.
I love your book, Candy Bar Hugs.
You ordered it and wrote a review on Amazon. That was so nice. That was when it was trying to go bestseller back in July 2023 even though it has been out for years. I relaunched it. This is amazing. This has been a great time. I can’t wait to see you again. Always remember to choose joy.
About Alexandra Van Horn
Alexandra Van Horn, The Live Well Long Coach, inspires others to own their innate abilities to create a life they love. A Transformational Life Coach & Consultant, ordained minister, and former training manager at a Fortune 500 company, she has inspired and helped others reach for and achieve their dreams for over 20 years. Widowed at a young age, with three small sons, she learned first-hand about the power inherent in each of us to invent our world through our careful choice of thoughts, words and actions. She is driven by this passion to help others create lives of peace and happiness.
She’s an author of 3 books, has taught special needs middle-school students, loves dogs, horses, watercolor painting and most of all her 5 grandchildren! Her favorite charities are St. Jude’s and Unstoppable Foundation.
About Violet Williams
Violet Williams has a Masters Degree in counseling and human services, and honorary humanitarian doctorate in human services. She is a transformational coach, Author, inspirational speaker, and Chaplain. Her resilience, wisdom, and expertise have been gained and refined not only through her education but equally through personal life experiences.
Over ten years ago, Violet was in a severe automobile accident which left her injured physically, having to go through years of physical therapy, surgeries. Four years after the accident, Violet was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and felt hopeless that there was no way for her to become an author and an inspirational speaker. During her road to recovery and constant prayer, God revealed to her His purpose for her life. By creating a blueprint, Violet discovered while fighting her way back to her best life she would write about how to create a life she loves. By transforming her life, she found her purpose and wrote her book “Create A Life You Love.” It is her mission to guide the readers to live a life they love from their purpose, vision, and dreams to live a fulfilled life.
I’m Charla Anderson, host of The Charla Anderson Show, Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) on live TV, streaming and podcasts. As a Ziglar Legacy Certified Trainer, a retired award-winning flight attendant, Olympic Torchbearer, personal development junkie, Inspired Speaker, Published Author and Your Courageous Coach, I want to share my passion of living life full-out, saying YES to intriguing opportunities, and encouraging YOU to do the same. Let’s jump on a discovery call and get to know each other. Find all things Charla at CharlaAnderson.com/links.
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