I’m an enthusiastic, curious, open-minded, optimistic, hard-working woman who finds purpose in inspiring and motivating people to take risks, to face fears, to welcome challenges, and to see life as a gift brimming over with opportunities for personal growth and transformation. That describes my personality, my outlook on life, and my life’s purpose. I truly am a happy person most of the time.
Just like you, though, I have had experiences that were filled with unhappy feelings. For example, I have been divorced. I know first-hand the confusion, disappointment, and feelings of anger that result when your life is turned upside down. Like some of you, I have experienced the death of a child. The tragic death of my 13-year-old son, Trey, brought feelings of anguish, regret, and almost unbearable sadness. And third, I have experienced being diagnosed with breast cancer and arduously going through chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and radiation treatment. I am still alive and healthy seven years later. What I want you to know about me is that I am living the up’s and down’s of life, just like you are.
I have realized that I am resilient and I tend to push through the difficult times and transcend the darkest moments. I choose to focus most of my energy on the good stuff of life, like a sunset that is so brilliant that you wish it would never end or a tomato seed that pushes its way through the soil to become fruitful. The chance encounter with an interesting person or a gratifying story about human beings helping other human beings. The love of your family and friends and the support and encouragement from new acquaintances.
Risk-taking comes to me naturally. I got my pilot’s license when I was 20 years old after joining the Longhorn Flying Club at the University of Texas at Arlington. I was one of only two young women in the club. Being a female pilot was so unusual that when I was flying with my instructor into an airport, he had me get on the radio so the men in the control tower would know that it was a female flying the plane.
When I was 47 years old, I decided to get my motorcycle license so that I would be free to ride whenever and wherever I wanted. I found a four-day class in Alpharetta, Georgia, that offered the training for the written test and the riding test. I was one of only three women in that class, and the only one to complete it successfully, solely because of unwavering perseverance.
Since I was in my 20’s, I had wanted to get a Ph.D. in psychology. Finally, during a “what am I going to do now?” reckoning with myself following a divorce, I decided that the time had come. I was 56 years old. I literally jumped up and down with joy when I got the acceptance letter from the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia in Athens. Since it was a full-time program that required physically going to classes, I moved to Athens after closing my counseling practice in Dawsonville, Georgia. Four years of hard work later, I earned my Ph.D.
I’ve created and facilitated several women’s personal growth groups over the years. I believe that women benefit from the sharing of ideas and the giving of support in small circles. I hope that some of you will start gatherings based on my book, Think Your Way to Happiness: Strategies for an Enjoyable, Meaningful Life.
My life now is full of writing and gardening. I start my tomato plants from seed and the word has gotten out that my Better Boy tomatoes are big enough for great tomato sandwiches. Larry and I live in a small old house in Gainesville, Georgia, where we grill on our big country porch. A black cat showed up last June, and took up residence. We call him Kiki.
Non-Fiction/Self Help Book
About the Book
Think Your Way to Happiness: Strategies for an Enjoyable, Meaningful Life includes over 28 surprising self-help tips on how to be happy. Issues that you care about like relationships, divorce, loss, money stresses, letting go, and finding purpose and fulfillment are addressed with transformative ideas that will change your life. When you let go of distractions that drain your energy, you are free to ask questions like What do I really want to do? What do I want to add to my life? What do I want to let go of? What is really important to me? You are free to choose happiness.