Driven to learn
My childhood summers were spent camping in a hearse.
My father saw a different future for our road trips when he strapped a camper body onto that 1959 Cadillac. In his vision, we stopped at every state park, historic battlefield, and monument along the road, reading aloud together. Years later I would write these kind of signs for museums and the San Diego Zoo, improve the experience at national parks, and extend the study of experiences with my museum consulting business: Experienceology.
Those trips and the career that followed laid the groundwork for my first book: Creating Great Visitor Experiences.
I wrote my first book for museum professionals while reclining in a zero-gravity chair. Twenty years earlier I’d cracked a vertebrae in a hard rollerskating fall, eventually leading me to spinal fusion surgery. Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia held me down. I was physically and spiritually broken.
When the healthcare system failed me I became my own healthcare advocate. I launched a new online identity with a health-related blog to share my findings on diet. Balancing my life spiritually—including an active forgiveness process—improved my chronic conditions. My readers responded with their own personal victories.
I could never have predicted the beautiful merging of all the subjects I studied in college: art, design, film & television, and public health. But my life on the Web has included video production, web design, food photography, and critical research.
We often find ourselves in pain. Forgiveness and loss are powerful chapters of our lives. My next book was inspired by the death of my #1 cheerleader—Buddy Girl the Golden retriever—followed by 7 family members in the following 18 months. Golden Angels explored loss and rebirth, while I pursued the elusive goal of self-publishing. Recipes at the end of each essay helped tell the story.
In 2016 I became a certified health and wellness coach. My first cookbook and lifestyle guide soon followed: The Migraine Relief Plan. It debuted strongly on Amazon and continues to sell in the U.S. and abroad, including translations in Spanish and Bulgarian.
2022 will bring The Migraine Relief Cookbook to bookstores, another 100 anti-inflammatory recipes plus essays on cultivating resilience while living with chronic illness. I’m enjoying working with the 45 recipe testers from 4 countries as well as a range of professionals and patient advocates to bring it to fruition.
Share your voice
I believe we all have a purpose, and we’re put here to make the world a better place. Listening to that call, and the causes that speak to me, gets me up in the morning. Writing is the first step, and public speaking usually follows.
I became a TED-style coach after curating and coaching a local TEDx event for 5 years. Now I enjoy helping my clients find and craft their unique, memorable stories, bringing their best out on stage. I’ve coached public figures for conferences since 2016. I’m also a media-trained speaker with numerous TV appearances under my belt.
I’ve embraced social media to lift up other writers, teach content, promote my books, and amplify causes that matter.
I feel strongly about advocating for the topics that move us. For me that includes participating in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study and promoting love and equality as a member of Free Mom Hugs, supporting the LGBTQIA+ community.
I don’t always choose my stories. But I do choose the path that creates them.