These are just a few of the experiences which have shaped my life and may serve to give you a better feel for who I am and what I’m about. When I look back at the highlights and the “low-lights” what I do know is that I am “more than a conqueror.”
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my dad told me to “keep my chin up.” At the time I thought that was pretty insensitive. Later, I realized it was just what I needed to help me become an overcomer, a realistic and resilient optimist. I highly admire these kind of people, someone like Admiral James Stockdale – whose story greatly impacted me.
Briefly, he was a Vietnam POW who was tortured beyond belief during the Vietnam War for eight years in what was ironically called the Hanoi Hilton. He survived and had this to say:
I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.
His approach of taking a horrific life event and choosing to turn it into a defining moment has deeply inspired me to: 1) persevere through the worst of times; 2) seek out the lesson(s) and/or gift(s) each experience offers and 3) accept that we simply cannot predict the end to our story – our lives unfold much like chapters in a book.
I can’t say that I’ve always approached life that way as I’ve definitely experienced great sadness and even despair during some of the toughest times in my life relating to health, family and relationship challenges. I know that all of my trials and sufferings have transformed me and continue to be used to help me walk out my purpose and calling.
It is only through my dependence on God (as predicted by my mother many years ago) that I’ve become “more than a conqueror” and have a peace and joy I never imagined possible.
However, it took a serious wake-up call to get my attention so He could do His work in me.
In December of 1996 during a church service, I was told to write down one intention for the upcoming year.
As I had been so restless and discontent for so many years, I asked for inner peace. I craved the kind of deep peace that prevails despite one’s circumstances. Less than a year later, I received the heart-stopping news that I had breast cancer. To this day, I easily recall the initial feelings of shock, terror and intense isolation. As a mother of three young children, I was overcome with anxiety and fear as I tried to deal with the reality that this could kill me.
I immediately recalled my mom’s angry words said to me during a time I was acting disrespectful: Young lady, someday you will need God!
She got that one right; I badly needed God. I was fighting an emotional, physical, mental and spiritual battle as I tried to keep at bay my overwhelming fear of the future and dying.
One night, I found myself on my knees surrendering my healing and my future to Jesus.
What happened next was amazing. I felt the deepest level of peace I had ever known. I later learned that this kind of peace is supernatural, a gift from the Holy Spirit.
For the next year, I contended with tubes, scars, chemotherapy, countless doctors’ visits, nausea, baldness, fear, loss of hope and feelings of isolation.
Cancer was one of my defining moments that yielded an abundance of blessings. Things like learning how to forgive; getting greater clarity regarding my priorities and values; appreciating the fullness of life; receiving emotional and physical healing; strengthening of my friendships and best of all, deepening my relationship with God.
Fast forward through many years of being a wife and mother which are other chapters in my story, each with its own set of trials and tribulations.
However, two values that have relentlessly guided me are my love of learning and passion to transform lives so people love their life.
I am fascinated with how we each choose to steward our God-given talents and the degree to which we allow God to work in us to express our calling. Those decisions shape our lives; control our destiny and impact our levels of joy, meaning and fullness.
My purpose is to bring others to full expression of their God-given talents, skills and experiences. I accomplish my purpose through life and leadership coaching and facilitating transformational learning experiences. I find it immensely energizing and satisfying to help others rewrite their stories in ways that: 1) free them from their limitations that reside their mind, heart and spirit; 2) increase their influence and significance; 3) establish a meaningful vision and purpose for their life and 4) develop life-enhancing mental, emotional and spiritual habits.
Helping people fall more deeply in love with their life is a privilege and honor that gives me great joy, enthusiasm and meaning.
My training and education include the following: