Life, Learning and Happiness
"Owning Our Story And Loving Ourselves Through That Process is The Bravest Thing We Will Ever Do."
I am a wife of one, a mother of six, and a grandmother of sixteen. I enjoy life, and live it to the fullest. I love to write, create, teach, travel, stay active and meet new people. I have been a public speaker and have performed in various states throughout America. I have studied in Europe, been to Israel, Ireland, So. Africa, China, Mexico, and the Philippines, and hope to travel to many more countries as I launch my books in Australia and England and other places around this wide wonderful world.
Growing up my plan to become a school teacher and a writer never wavered. From the time I was in the first grade I knew I wanted to become a school teacher and teach first grade. I attended Brigham Young University and spent a semester studying in England. My Senior year I was accepted into the Intern Program and taught first grade.
I graduated with a bachelors degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Writers Portfolio. I owned and operated Kids Today Pre-School for ten years, where I enjoyed teaching children to read and write, and putting together musical programs twice a year for the children to perform. It was very rewarding, but as my own kids grew up, I followed them to elementary school where I taught fifth and sixth grade for a couple more years. It was then I decided to fulfill another dream of mine and I went back to school to learn American Sign Language. I have always been intrigued with this beautiful elegant language and often checked out books as a child and taught myself the basics. After earning another degree in ASL I worked as an Interpreter and Teachers Aid for The Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind. It did not take long before I realized the reason I was so strongly prompted to ensue this journey. One of my students soon became a permanent member of our family. We welcomed him with open arms. With all the challenges that come with being foster parents, and raising a Deaf son we have never had any regrets and couldn’t picture life without him.
In 2004 I became Mrs Utah Intercontinental and in 2005 was awarded the title of Mrs. Intercontinental at a pageant held in the East Caribbean. I learned a lot about myself during this particular time and the lessons I have learned I will write in upcoming posts. So please watch for those. This had me speaking at many venues and meeting many new people which was the highlight of the whole experience and made me happy that I pursued it after all, after many self debates and at first telling the nominating committee “no thank you.”
Another thing I have always enjoyed is Cowboy Poetry. I enjoyed attending shows and reading the tall tales of the cowboy way of life. It wasn’t until I was challenged to write a cowboy poem that I tried my hand at it. I enjoyed it so much that I kept writing them, and soon found myself performing them on stage. I fell in love wth the genre and the people associated with it. In a way it connected me to my ancestors.
I felt grounded as if my boots themselves were planted deep into the earth; unwavering. I became Secretary of the Cowboy Poets of Utah, and remained a member of the CPU as well as the Western Music Association (check out my portfolio for more on cowboy poetry)
“The Animal In Me” came to life in 2005. As an educator I had written this book to help children understand that emotions are normal and important to recognize. While attending the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah I ventured into The Images Of Nature Gallery. I was immediately drawn to these spectacular photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen and knew they would be perfect for the book. After agreeing to meet with me, Tom liked the idea and the rest is history. I will say, however, that it became the best selling book out of his galleries and sold out at Barnes and Noble and other popular book stores. After its fifth edition we decided it was time for an update. Alas, in 2016 the new and improved “The Animal In Me” was reborn.
Although it may appear that I have had a very fortuitous life, it has not been without hardship and struggle. It was June 5, 2007, the first day of summer break, my daughter and I were walking out of a local market when we suddenly noticed a car coming right for us. We did not have much time to react, and giving into mother’s instinct I immediately pushed my daughter out of the way, but was then struck by the car which pinned me up against another oncoming car. The first car pushed us into a cinderblock wall which jarred me loose. A piece of my clothing was caught and it forced me under the car. As the car started to speed off the witnesses to the accident were yelling, “Stop! she is still under there.” When the car finally stopped, and the EMT’s arrived, they realized that I would need to be life flighted to the University of Utah Hospital.
After a long haul of hard work and determination of physical, occupational and speech therapy, I had to learn many things all over again. I was determined to not let this change the course of my life in any way. It took many months of walking with a cane and trying to remember certain events but I am here and that’s what is important, right? I wanted to live. I had my oldest daughters wedding to plan, and so many other things to live for. A year later our first grand daughter was born. This in itself was worth living for, although I would grow to second guess that when we lost her seven months later due to congenital heart defects.
I am now enjoying spending time with family, traveling, skiing and writing.
I hope you enjoy reading “The Animal In Me” series, including "When I am Kind" and also the book "Can You Hear The Poppies?" They are perfect books for kids of all ages. If you are a teacher, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend, these are must have books for your library. I look forward to hearing from you. And stay tuned for two more new books coming soon.