I’m a California girl. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and will always consider it my home. The Santa Cruz Mountains, the Redwoods, the Boardwalk, California Highway 1… they are all iconic of the years when I grew up, met my husband and embarked on the biggest adventure of life—marriage.
Good food is right up there with good friends and morning coffee. I couldn’t exactly call myself an obsessed foodie but suffice it to say I prefer quality over quantity when it comes to food. My best compliment to any dish is when I can call it “memorable.” If thinking about it transports me to another place and another time, that meal was a winner.
I was only 18 when I met my husband, Shawn, two weeks after I graduated from high school. I was anxious for high school to end so I could get on with the business of being a grown up. Independently minded, unstoppably outgoing and a vivacious extrovert, I left home to work at a beautiful camp in the Redwoods in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The first day I was there I inadvertently met the man I had never dreamed would be the man of my dreams; a fairly quiet, pastor-poet who knew how to keep me laughing raucously, mostly at his quirky knack for quoting British comedies. His friends nicknamed him, “the bard,” and he lived up to it with his songs and poems and adorable gifts of bagels and books. We stayed up nights talking until two or three in the morning, not caring that we had to get up at six. We had important deep stuff we needed to discuss as we did our laundry!
It’s been 26 years since we met and I can tell you this; life is more full of surprises than I ever would have imagined at 18. I said I DO to the unknown; to moves and new experiences, to children and homes, to heartaches and joys inexpressible. Marriage, even to the love of your life, is hard work. Good work. And worth every ounce of effort. It’s a mess worth making and I’m so thankful for my partner in the mess of life.
Where I am “from.” Here is our life journey narrowed down to locations. Santa Cruz, California > Dallas, Texas > College Station, Texas > Bay Area, California > Calgary, Alberta Canada > Bay Area, California > Hamilton, New Jersey > Peoria, Illinois. Phew!
Having lived North, South, North East, West, and Mid-West, I do not consider any one place HOME. I have learned, sometimes through pretty painful transitions, to love the place I live. We are potted plants. Transportable. Sometimes I long for my California sun and a single place to call home, but I have found that home is not a place at all. It’s belonging.
Success & Encouragement. My dad owned and ran a family business for most of his roughly 50 year marriage. His dad and brother before that ran a family business. My Grandma was an outgoing and successful real estate woman who managed to keep earning an income until she died at 93. Hard work and dedication to success is a family trait so it only makes sense that I too decided to go into business for myself. Success is a huge driver for me. But I don’t only look to my own success. I also love to help and encourage others in their journey too in whatever way I can. Whether I am just learning something new or have already mastered it, I love to pass on what I know so that others can begin to experience confidence and success right where they are.
I love my pets. I’ve always been an animal person. I grew up with cats, birds, various rodents, dogs, fish… a veritable menagerie. We have a dachshund named Tuppy and three cats, StanLee, Paul, and Charlie (this is Chars).
My favorite travel destination. With four boys you can imagine that travel can be a bit difficult. But my husband and I dream of traveling to various places around the world. Several years ago we got to go to the #1 place on our list, Ireland. We LOVED it. We can’t wait to go to England for our 25th anniversary next year!
Some of my favorite jobs. Being a wedding photographer was high pressure stuff. This day happens only once and it was my job to beautifully and artfully capture it to be treasured for years to come. Owning and running a small business taught me more than a classroom ever could have. I LOVED ALL OF IT!
Now I work as a communications professional. (Not everyone gets to do more than one of their favorite things for a living but I have!) I am always learning, always striving, and always growing. I am currently studying to become a Certified Associate Project Manager through PMI and hope to transfer my creative, communication, and administrative skills into the realm of UX Design. If I ever stop learning, check my pulse!
Lastly, I’m a mom. I have four almost all grown sons. Just saying that is often enough for people to bow in reverence. And I will say, it’s been a lot of work. Things gets loud and messy sometimes. It’s a job that requires all of my heart, mind, body, and soul at times. But it has been my greatest pleasure. My boys are all so different and growing up to be individuals whom I would want to have as friends even if they were not my sons.