It’s tempting to believe that the Chief Happiness Officer herself has never known a down day. But the truth is, sometimes you have to live through darkness before you can thrive in the light.
I spent my childhood and teen and young adult years dealing with panic attacks and crippling fear. Diagnoses of a seizure disorder and full panic disorder followed, and with them a burgeoning fear that I would never be able to achieve my dreams.
But I refused to allow a few obstacles to block my path to happiness. I sought guidance and treatment from trusted medical and homeopathic doctors and began to make real progress in managing my anxiety and panic. But I wasn’t content to stop there in my quest to get better. So, I added in a carefully considered combination of exposure therapy and deep personal growth seeking—plus, a generous helping of sheer will—to produce a miracle of recovery that keeps giving all these years later.
With my fears and anxieties managed, I could truly start making my life happen!
Of course, fear will always be an intimate acquaintance. But I’ve learned to own it—to use it—to empower myself to go after what I want. I’ve discovered the value and beauty of a perfectly imperfect life. And it’s led me to become a teacher, a consultant, a motivational speaker, an aspiring author, and a mission-minded person.
Now in my newest role of happiness coach, I’m ready to help others overcome their fears, discover their joy, activate their limitless potential, and boldly pursue their dreams!
What else should you know about me?
I love my family.
My husband Scott is a small business owner and works as a director of design and sales. We are the proud parents of four. Our oldest Drew, an attorney, and his teacher wife Susan have given us two of the sweetest grandchildren and live in Carmel, IN. Our daughter Sidney lives and works in Tell City, IN, where she is the secretary at the local high school; our youngest, Spencer, is a sophomore there. And our other daughter, Clair, is studying in Bloomington.
My grandmother is my greatest teacher.
She’s also the silent driving force behind my desire to study and spread happiness. We’ve had a standing lunch date every Friday for the last 16 years, and in that time, I’ve learned important life lessons: about living my spirituality, about expressing gratitude for my blessings, and about remembering what is most important in life. Oh, and she also taught me that WHO I am matters. Her lessons are a big part of my work, and the close relationship I share with her is a big part of why helping others create their own happiness is so important to me.
I advocate for my community’s forgotten animals.
I have a soft heart for animals. They are nature’s kindest and gentlest souls. When I encounter an abandoned or neglected animal, I simply can’t help myself. I have to do what I can to make their situation better. So, I get them vet care, get them well, and then reach out to like-minded animal lovers to find them forever homes. At last count, our family has rescued and found homes for 103 dogs and 15 cats. Helping animals often seems like a “calling”—maybe this is my ticket into heaven!
Running = Relaxation
I try to pound the pavement at least five days a week. Without my regular run time, I’m just not myself. In fact, my husband can often tell just from the speed of my end of our conversations whether I’ve taken my run or not! I’m a little on the high-strung side, so I strive to run a minimum of 30 miles per week—to relax, of course, but also to train for the full and half marathons I participate in periodically. I’m proud to say, in 2012, I completed the Boston Marathon!
I received a grant to explore the practice of mediation and how it can be used to increase well-being.
In 2010, I received the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Grant, awarded to educators in Indiana who endeavor to participate in a project or study that is intellectually revitalizing and personally renewing. Because mindfulness is one of my foundational keys to happiness (and because I often feel like I’m running on high-octane fuel!), I used the grant to travel to Sedona, Arizona and participate in a meditation retreat focused on mindfulness. I was able to take what I learned there and implement the practice in my own 4th grade classroom and seek to help other educators learn its benefits. I practice meditation daily, and it definitely helps to tame the craziness that lives and thrives inside of me. That’s how I know it can be such a powerful tool for others!