I arrived on earth with a strong desire for connection and a sixth sense for seeing what others don’t. My parents said I could see in the dark, called me ‘cat eyes’ because I roamed the big 100-yr. old house when the world was quiet and not even moonlight shown through the windows. I was a tiny mystic. . .intensely present, heart-centered, artistic, and smart.
I was a ‘too much’ girl in every way.
~ Why Fierce Heart™
We’re the sum of our stories.
One of earliest memories is sitting in the dark stairwell at my Grandma’s home. Below me, a dark hallway, the empty kitchen across it. I’m alone. I can still see the blurred blaze of light from the big window at the foot of the stairs.
It would be decades before I learned my mother sent me away when I was 18 mos. old. Because my sister was due to be born and she thought I was too much. It was for 8 weeks, an eternity for a tiny girl.
At 17 I was sent away for good. I was too much to handle. And at 19, I grabbed the dream of marriage to the man I loved. The story of that marriage included a dark secret of abuse I hid for many years, even after I learned we’re not what happens to us, and not the labels others give us. Even though my too muchness was what helped me determine the first tiny step to leave that marriage with my small son. To have the courage to move forward despite the fear that stole my breath. To do it alone, without guidance, support, help, or confidants. And to hold strong, because these things weren’t talked about then.
And that one story I hid so long led to a legacy that has positively impacted hundreds of thousands of people:
I’m sitting in a classroom. In University for the fifth time to get my bachelor’s degree. I overhear two young co-eds talk about their dates, and almost being raped. “It’s just a chance you take on campus,” one says. Blood rushes my head. My ears buzz. I knew violence to the body. Knew how they’d flinch when blindsided. Knew how they’d breathe free when it doesn’t happen. And that they may even hide it inside themselves like I did.
In that moment I saw there had to be a place on that huge university campus where women could gather, tell their stories, find allies & support, and be safe. A Women’s Center. And though everyone I told said it was impossible, that it couldn’t happen by the time I graduated in 18 months, I believed it could.
I stepped forward, used my Voice as an advocate, connecting and forming alliances with students, faculty, and administration. I’d already learned the power of a Vision when I left that first marriage, and that knowing propelled me to meet this far greater Vision with a focus and presence I can only describe today as inspired. The word “impossible” simply did not exist. I took what I’d done my entire life – listen so people felt heard, & speak to where we connect – to serve something bigger than myself.
The Women’s Center opened on the eve of my graduation 30 years ago. And has served hundreds of thousands of people since then. In 2018 alone, 57,ooo people engaged with The Women’s Center, not counting all who stepped in or called.
I believe we’re all meant for something bigger than ourselves, whether it’s in the broader world or with the person standing next to us. I believe it doesn’t matter how big or small your Vision is, the Universe will conspire with you to make it so. Just know what you see is possible. . .no matter what anyone else says.
Why I do what I do
“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention. – Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
~ Mary Oliver, poet
I’ve always seen webs of patterns & connections in ways that most people don’t. Have always seen layers of stories in any one story told. Have always felt color and light and the beat of the unseen as something real and concrete.
I know the power of deep presence and curiosity. How they lead to expanded perspectives & possibilities, and deepen our creative spirits.
These are my Truths. And they’re the heart of the work I do.
The past few years of Covid called for choices so many of us have never had to make before. Thrust into a weird new normal, we’re left now with a chance to define what the next new normal will be.
I’m committed to amplifying the genius of fierce-hearted Souls. Committed to expanding the possibilities for connection between us. To helping all of us see with new eyes.
Read more here.
Where We Connect
I’m a multi-passionate Vision keeper, shift agent, consultant, author & artist who says the word love a lot. Color, Light, Pattern, and Connection are the heart of everything I do.
I approach life and work with creating and connecting at the core….whether as corporate advertising account manager, micro-brewery owner building a business, activist establishing the ‘impossible‘, or helping people be the s/heroes of their dreams.
I think reading and writing and a good conversation are like living a good life. We settle into the world, get to know folks, ride through their ups and downs, share their angst and triumphs… and feel touched in ways so something shifts inside us.
The natural world holds me in awe and wonder. Seeing the sky is vital to my Soul.
I’m also a mother, wife, good friend, grandmother, educator, advocate, and mystic who claims recovering perfectionist, optimistic realist, and grounded dreamer. Angels are my guides. Perfect days and beauty in any form make me happy.
Ask me about myself I’ll tell you I prefer tea to coffee, walking to running, sunrises to sunsets, quiet to lively, exploring to shopping, light filled rooms to cozy caves. A huge dose of solitude sustains me, as does driving through uninhabited landscapes,. You’ll think me extrovert when we meet, tho.
My love for the Appalachians lives in my novel Flight. My soul-connection with the high desert of Northern NM lives in my second novel, in progress.
Read My Works
“The Writer’s Block Myth – A Guide to Get Past Stuck & Experience Lasting Creative Freedom”
#1 Bestselling Book. A creativity mindset bible described as the best book about what being a writer is.
“Kenya 2018 – The Mara” The Wayfarer, Vol.8 Issue.1 – Homebound Publications
A poem inspired by my stay in the middle of the Maasai Nature Preserve.
“The Altar of Birds” The Wayfarer, Vol.3 Issue.2 – Homebound Publications
2014 Pushcart Prize nominee poem
“Know Yourself Better than You Know Anyone Else” a contributing essay in Patti Digh’s What I Wish for You: Simple Wisdom for a Happy Life
“The Honey Hour,” short story, The Ekphrastic Review, May 1, 2018
If you like to listen, you’ll enjoy my FUN & informative audio guide, The Creative Life for People Living in the Real World
Awards & Recognitions
- Summer Literary Seminars Prose & Poetry Contest 2018 – Finalist
- Pushcart Prize nomination 2014: The Wayfarer, Vol.3, Issue 2 – Homebound Publications
- Ruminate Magazine Poetry Contest 2014 – Semi-Finalist
- Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize 2012 – finalist
- Panhellenic Outstanding Women’s Award (NC State University)