Category Archives: Spotlight

Megan Antonio

Megan Antonio lived in a toxic, negative, abusive space for so many years, where darkness plagued her mind, that she lost the lackluster of the world and fell prey to the darkness.  She got so accustomed to it, that she began to believe….it WAS the way life IS.  UNTIL….

….her mom passed away and she was healed. 

….her stepfather passed and she found God.  

….her heart said no more and let go.

….her worth erupted from the depths and it became her truth. 

Molested as a kid by her stepfather and then having to keep everything a big secret, and living with the shame & guilt for decades, she became a young alcoholic. 

Megan was a people pleaser and got caught up in the uncertainty of it all.  When she finally started to speak up, others didn’t believe her, her mother didn’t listen to her and her counselor chalked it up to being her problem.  She started to dabble with drugs, which made matters worse.

She got married to the first guy who asked and then 2 kids later, she felt stuck.  The marriage was great for a while, but the toxicity became unbearable.  The dysfunctional roller coaster of drama, chaos & love kept chugging along the tracks.  Marriage.  Children.  Separation. Upset. Reconciliation. Miscarriage. Hubby Fired.  New address. Hubby Arrested. Her School. His Infidelity. Quit school.  His DUI. Turmoil. New address. Jail. Mom passed away.  So much for a young mom to deal with….back and forth and over and over. One day life was great, the next, the sky was falling.  All the ups & downs started to take it’s toll on her well-being ,never mind their relationship.  She tried every which way to make it work, to try one more time, to try and please him even still.

She recalls when she was getting her car serviced on her way to her stepdads funeral to read the liturgy, remember she’s a people pleaser, & although she spoke, she doesn’t remember much.  She was praying to have a better life, better quality, be free from the turmoil, the upsets & the messy life. So many things grabbed her attention.  All she knew to do was pray. 

And God heard her. 

He put a woman in her path who reminded Megan of her mom.  They met at that gas station.  A simple hello and a smile turned into a conversation which turned into a friendship.  The woman spoke to Megan with love & through the tough conversation, she showed Megan that the common denominator was her.  And change for something better, was up to her.  

So, the 2nd time her husband landed in jail, she left him in there.  She packed up everything she had into her suburban with her 2 boys and off they went to begin anew.  Her friends helped her move in so she could move on.  She was able to finally let go of pleasing everyone.  Taking care of herself and her 2 boys were the most important things in her life, and she knew it was up to her.  

So much growth happened from the beginning of the sentences to the end of the sentences.  The impact this woman had on her life was huge.  She’ll never know what she did for Megan and how she gained the courage to be bold and make a change.  And reminded her of what she knew as a child “JESUS LOVES YOU.”

She gets it now and believes with all her heart if she didn’t’ go through those parts of her life, her suffering AND her healing would not have been so profound.  She trusts that God is harsh if he needs to be and it’s all in His timing.  She grew up knowing God, but something was different this time.  She is stronger, confident, volunteering, setting goals, loving herself and creating a wonderful life for her boys. 

Being a single mom is not easy, but every day she focuses on providing for them along with spending quality time with them.  She says “If I’m always working, I’d miss what’s going on in my own home.”  And that’s much too important to her to miss.  Her boys bring so much joy to the world and she is forever grateful.

Her life is true, real and raw.  Along with raising her boys she makes sure to find time for herself doing things that fill her heart up with solace & grace.  She recently hired a sitter so she could spend time with girlfriends.  A few of her “Dates With Me” are long walks, pedicures and spending time with God.   She’s a better mom when she loves on herself and these days “happy” hangs out at her house a lot more.  PLUS…. good things are happening. 

She is smart, she is blessed & she can do anything.

 

~Interview and write up was completed by Tracy

Jamee Culbertson

Did you ever meet a woman who is so confident and grounded and positive in who she is that you immediately have a real liking to her?

You want to spend more time with her, learn her attitude of gratitude & be in the present moment with her because her calm demeanor is like a magnet drawing you in, deeper still. 

That’s Jamee!

She/Her/Hers is a partner, teacher, artist…who shines her light throughout the world of many.  Many students, many neighbors, many strangers & many friends.  She is teaching, learning & growing as she passes through this life with a center full of kindness & charisma.

Of all the relationships she has, the 2 that fill her up most are with her partner, Marie and her 31 y.o. godson, Gabriel.  Full of great joy, mixed in with some tough times and sprinkled with a lot of love.

She believes that everyone should be able to take care of themselves, be their own physicians, moving energy around to balance our bodies and practice toward becoming our best selves

“You are your own health-y insurance” she says.  “You are the one to change old habits.  You are the one to reprogram old conversations into new ones. You.” 

Her artistic talent has taken many forms…from music & video film to Tai Chi & Qi Gong.  At times you can find her in a meditative state enjoying moments, taking in what’s around her, filling her SOUL and able to then pour herself out & change lives. 

The Alexander Technique is another way she does this.  What started out as a self-exploration turned into a transformed way of being which then turned into days of teaching, guiding & directing others through their own transformation.  It’s important to Jamee that her students get a clear understanding of how everything they’re looking for is already within them and it’s up to them to find it & release its power.

Her entrepreneurial spirit moved her from a few people asking for private classes to teaching at local churches, fitness centers, hospitals and universities.  She didn’t set out for this but as she continued to walk the walk, do the work, and marching forward, doors opened.  It all came together, beautifully.  Like a braid.

She attributes her teachings to the work she did with Toni Stone & Wonder Works Studio.  She learned that there are ways to make something out of nothing…always!  It started back in 1989 at Boston’s Copley Plaza with a personal coaching session, learning about how everything flows.  Her holistic self-journey quickly turned into decades of Entrepreneurial, Goals, and Women’s Groups. 

Jamee remembers her life of shoulders up to her ears, locked knees, tensional patterns, living from a place of manipulation for success. As she began to feel different, things shifted, she changed, and her view of the world turned to a loving, supportive one.  She uses her voice differently now.  The work allowed her to get in touch with her energy, how to create & move it and to better understand her relationship with the earth. 

Jamee admired Toni’s unique harmony & balance between her business and her creativity.  How she made order out of physical & emotional chaos.  How she decorated her house, her yard & herself with beautiful adornments.  

Jamee has a knack for guiding people to manifest transformative ideas & gain understanding that they’re not broken.  It’s about the way they go about what they want, that isn’t working.  You can have what you want, in a new way. Always. 

Jamee is an Agent of the Flow!!!  Giving, Receiving, Sending, Gathering.  Her Tai Chi work is just like Toni’s work. It all flows. Want more? Give more!  Always ring the doorbell with your elbow because your hands are full.  😊

Jamee notices how tasks can sometimes get in the way of her joy.  So she quickly embraces the bliss of the moment; watching kids play, listening to the activities outside, feeling her breath. Standing on her porch, she asks “Can I appreciate… a tree, a smile, a dog?  Staying home?  Something, nothing?  Her freelance work?  Entrepreneurial spirit? 

Her answer is always a resounding yes!   

You can make it happen.  Create it in thought, put it into words with certainty and it automatically changes your vibration.  Notice what you focus on.  Let the thoughts run as they may & focus on the thoughts that are of value.  Anything is always possible. NO MATTER WHAT.

Toni taught that and it marinates with Jamee every day.  Choose… Refocus… Envision… See what it is you want & take action.  If you were off track with Toni, she would cut in with rigor, certainty & love.  Toni would call bullshit, ‘bullshit’, no sugar coating, no coddling… just correction.  Toni could see the patterns.  Patterns in Cycles, quilting, stars AND in people.  Patterns are all over the place.  Toni could see them and speak into reorganizing. It was hard work & it was beautiful.

Working with Toni has taught Jamee how to bring out the best in people.  And this is all there is right now! 

Turning 65 in May, Jamee continues to live a life of great fortune.  Viewing & appreciating her life differently and finding strength in small ways.  Having no attachment to the way things are or can be and turning her thoughts around faster.  

Learning to love oneself is her top subject.  She is an expression of “Be The Love” and only because she lives this, can she expect her students to.  “BE the light & radiate who you already are, watch the flow & carry your spirit into the world & let love in the room.”

( If you’re interested in learning more about The Alexander Technique, watch Jamee’s video here: https://iplayerhd.com/player/SpiritualPracticewithAT )
Interview and write-up completed by Tracy.

Sherri Frontino

Sherri is a pocket full of sunshine, seriously FULL of sunshine.  It oozes out of her, spreading all over everyone in her life.  She’s a beacon of love & light to many.  And she thanks God for that.  “God takes what the devil means to harm & turns it into something good.  Always.  Something good is always on it’s way.” she says with a gracious tone.

Sherri’s been a stay at home mom for 25 years.  Her children who are all grown up (25 y.o. son and 21 & 19 y.o. daughters) are her world.  They’ve been what drives her, fuels her ambition and frees her to make it up as she goes.  Her biggest wish for them is that they rely on, turn to and support each other throughout their lives.

Her youngest is heading off to college soon and Sherri was hoping her baby would stay local and attend a state college, but it’s time for her to spread her wings.  AND because of her academic scholarships ….it is smart financially for her to go. 

When she drops her daughter off at college, she’s heading to the Caribbean.  To relax, to think, to grieve.  The life that she has known & loved for so long is changing and this is a good way to “Begin Again”.  She’s creating something new, coming into her own, on her own.  And it’s good.  

There’s freedom in an empty nest along with a once-in-a-blue-moon pity party.  She lets it run for a little bit “poor me poor me, blah blah blah”  but then she cuts it off at the knees and shifts her perspective to all the miracles & blessings in her life.  The time it takes for her to shift her thoughts is faster than it’s ever been and she’s certain it’s because of her daily time with God.  It is her most favorite part of the day!!  It’s like she’s sitting with her best friend.  

Sherri’s taking a real good look at what’s in front of her and making some hard decisions with what she’s going to create next.  She’s a fighter and her courageous, powerful and blessed essence are showing her she can have new life and new beginnings. 

Sherri works at Nordstrom’s warehouse counting, organizing &  ordering the makeup.  She loves it. This introduction back into the work world has been a great experience for her.  Her past years in the corporate world have added so much to her attitude about what really matters.  While she works hard and is happy to be in the trenches, it is her maturity and positive attitude that encourages conversation with the younger coworkers.  She feels BLESSED to be there and be an ally to them.  God has a bright future ahead of her and this is a stepping stone into what’s next.

Trusting Gods will for her life is a must for Sherri.  She knows she could not survive without it!  AND her warrior spirit keeps her going when the going gets tough.  People think she has had the picture perfect life. 

Her life looks easy.

Don’t be mistaken, she’s had her challenges, and she’s suffered and hurt…. but her faith and positive spirit pull her through.  In times of trouble she may feel weak but she knows she is strong.  She aspires to be the person God made her to be and is helping others along the way with her experiences, good and bad.  Sherri believes with all her heart that in the suffering, she is made stronger.

Lately, taking care of herself, having me-time and teaching Zumba are a few ways she stays on track.  A few verses that she keeps in her back pocket-full-of-sunshine are:

“Don’t forget to live while your living.”

“Life is short, take the trip, buy the shoes, eat the cake”

“Just because things aren’t going right doesn’t mean the path you’re on is wrong.”

During Zumba, she encourages, inspires and hopefully helps another  to be a little healthier.   And if they can have fun and laugh while getting through the virtual class… then she’s done her job.

 She dreams big and goes after it.  After all, if you don’t go after it you won’t ever get it and then what will you have?  If it’s meant to be, it will be & if not, God has something better!  She aims to live her best life, living every day as if it could be her last.  

She’s living her dreams from the heart.

 

 

~Interview and write-up completed by Tracy

Carol Stringham

Carol Stringham, an empowered woman.  She’s taking the elevator all the way to the top.  She has gusto, passion & excitement in her purse, questions, answers & realizations in her back pocket, and encouragement, motivation & leadership in her heart. 

She’s not sure what’s waiting for her, but one thing’s for sure, if it’s not great, she’ll make it great!

An empowered woman she is.  One of her favorite verses by Peter Bolland is “Empowerment is not acquiring the power you did not previously have.  Empowerment is uncovering the power you had all along.”  If you ever have the chance to meet her, you’ll ‘get it’ in the first 5 minutes.

Living in Newcastle, working as an occupational therapist helping parents and handicap kids at this one school since 1981, enjoying life with her husband Scott for 32 years (and their 2 adult sons) …she is now ready to retire. Moving on from a job she’s had for 27 years without anything set up can be a little scary, but she’s jumping into it.  She’s jumping off the diving board, into the water, into the unknown space.  With courage & enthusiasm for what awaits her and knowing all too well that  “Whatever is Required is Always Present” ….she’s going to the top.  

Carol used to be drawn to drama.. all ways, all areas, all the time.  She no longer gives any of that her attention.  She lives from her powerful heart space, staying open to the practices of gratitude and being present.  She enjoys her current more peaceful life, continually looking toward things of beauty and peace to fill her days, her thoughts, her moments.  She recently wrote a signature story,  including the teachings of Toni Stone and on how they changed her life.  She says with a happy tone, “It’s time to refresh things”.

It was through Toni’s courses & training that Carol learned to let go of the ‘little girl’ who was running her.  It may seem like is was easy, but it wasn’t.  There were times when it was oh so painful.  She found herself withdrawing because the ‘little girl’ didn’t want to play the game, which would then leave her alone & empty.  Through the course work, she realized allowing the ‘little girl’ to run the show, was the cause of her great loss and suffering.  She learned running away was no longer the answer and that when she got out of her own way, she KNEW who she was!  And that’s a powerful place to be!

Toni’s training’s were filled with radical & quirky assignments, numerous accountability games, and pages and pages of homework.  This opened Carol’s eyes to new ways to be & ways to see her world differently.  She was able to take responsibility to direct her life with the purpose of who she was born to BE. “The courses were outlined with incredible tenacity and linguistic precision to awaken and strip away the unseen patterns and beliefs that were running me” she joyfully reads from a journal.  

Carol has been leading Women’s Groups for 30 years.  There were times when she had 3 different groups happening at the same time.   

*Creating space for transformation, freedom and self-love.

*Touching lives. 

*Opening hearts. 

Miracles occurred in this place again and again.  Miracles the women may not have been prepared for & in ways they never dreamed of.

The Women’s Group is an opportunity to come together and polish the rough edges, accept all the disowned parts and find the joy that may have been hidden behind some lies.  There’s something about gathering with other women with an undertaking to transform oneself.  It just happens.  One woman’s story could be a catalyst for someone else’s AHA! moment.  Transforming miracles abound.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Her desire to expand and be more magnanimous and to breathe life into Toni’s worth, to share it, teach it, live it, has given her the vision for a workshop she’s creating to hopefully offer in the Spring/Summer time frame. 

Her workshop will speak to how language shapes your life.  Looking at who you think you are compared to who you want to be, recycling the old stuff, and recreating a present that is no longer like the past.  It’ll be full of the principles, tools and affirmations around examining your thoughts along with exercises, homework and partner calls.  It’ll be a transforming practice, a time to tap into one’s self-confidence, to create relationships and to live by what’s found in the book “What I Say is What I Am” by Toni Stone.

If you’re interested, email Carol at: Gristmillcove2@aol.com

  She’ll leave us with, “Remember how important life is and don’t take anything for granted.”

Now take the elevator to the top & make it great when you get there.

 

Carol’s interview and write-up submitted by Tracy.

Katie Flynn

Smack dab in the middle…In the middle of 7 brothers & 3 sisters, in the middle of creating a beautiful & comfortable home, in the middle of a magnanimous ever-changing life, in the middle of ….what’s next.

Katie is doing it, making it happen, owning it, enjoying it, living it, being it, loving it, transforming it. Katie is the author of her amazing life with a million dollar view.

From her first class with Toni in 1989 at the Park Plaza with her firstborn in her arms, through all the Teacher Trainings, Workshops & Prosperity Courses into her most recent days of
Women’s Groups, …. Katie has embraced her 25 years of ‘the work’.

She’s married to Paul with 2 boys running around & one in the belly and they lived in a tiny half duplex with a tiny yard. They had a rough go at it, at first. They were Prosperity Teachers,
lead workshops, managed students, taught principles. They spoke about being more but were living small, they taught about risking yet were living it safe and they knew of abundance but
had no savings.

Katie knew this wasn’t IT.

They had a breakthrough conversation which was trajectory to their success, Paul went out to create a prosperous home on a prosperous piece of land for his family. He had no idea how he would do it, AND he said YES.

Paul found a piece of land for sale AND agreed to buy it. They had no money, no credit, no equity. He found someone to borrow money from AND promised to pay him back in a month. He subdivided the land to pay back his investor AND give him a lot of land. The best
part of this “Create Your Reality” breakthrough ….AND he built a house for his family.
Based on all the prosperity principles they’ve been teaching and using, they knew they could manifest what they wanted smack dab in the middle of not knowing how. They knew to move
forward with a vision and forthright wisdom that ‘Anything Is Possible’.

Katie knew “if they could manifest it once, they could do it again” All the Walls came down! She knew without a doubt….ANYTHING is POSSIBLE.

“I can have anything I want to create”, she repeated. Her life moved forward from there.

She has seen, created, manifested and unfolded beauty, friendships, deep conversations and true real moments that make up her daily life. The nature of the work she’s doing shows up as a miracle, there’s an ease and a prosperity in her life, but it’s because she’s doing the work.

It’s not magic, but in a way it is. It’s wonderful.

She had to step back from people who didn’t support her mindset, her thought patterns, her ‘abundant’ thinking, so that she could gain some perspective.

She now asks herself “Does this work for me?”, “Does this serve my life?” as she continues
to think outside the box and trust that ANYTHING is POSSIBLE as she makes choices for their success.

As a nurse, caring for others, comes easy. Maybe it’s from being the middle child where she learned to follow and learned to lead. Her passion for in-home health care with a strong
craving for hospice and home births is saddled up with her passion for reading.

Did someone say reading? Katie is obsessed with books. She loves to read autobiographies, real stories, true stuff. Historic fiction catches her heart as well as art, photography & painting.

“It’s funny,” she says. “I’m not even an artist….I’m the appreciator.”

Then there’s music, dance, play & fun. Oh AND the people in her life!

Her husband, her children, her friends. The people in her life matter most.

Oh but the reading.!! It fills her heart. The things she learns, spirit & mind, moving through adversity, becoming the best that she can be…. all of it…. found within the writings of so many great authors; Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Toni Stone, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Su Monk Kidd and Mark Nepo.

She brought an inspirational book to work and sat it on the counter, where it’s creating conversation and a happy work environment.

“All work and no play makes for a very dull situation”, she says with a smile.

Katie’s smiles, hugs, visits and conversations are just a few ways she expresses her love.
Being WITH others makes a world of difference! She trusts LIFE no matter what it looks like. The good, the bad, the ugly.

LIFE is MESSY. It doesn’t frighten, deter, or scare her. Life evolves, evolution is always happening, things are always moving.

And for Katie, even when she’s in the mess in the middle, she reminds herself…

“Be Still & Know.”

 

Interviewed and Katie’s story was written by Tracy

Dollee Mallare

Dollee Mallare…’Busy Beautiful Bee’ 

Loving a lot, living a lot, sharing a lot, creating a lot.

When you grow up as a Filipino-American daughter to divorced parents in the 50’s, you are rare.  You learn that one thing is not like the other very quickly.  Dollee learned at a young age she was not like everyone else.  A multicultural background adds a little challenge to one’s life, but oh how rewarding life ends up being when you don’t let people’s judgments penetrate your being.  When you know with confidence who you are, who loves you and what you’re made of.  Life grows you up a very creative, happy-go-lucky woman.

She became a clown because that is when people listened to her.While in San Fran she realized she could use it as a vehicle to reach more people. She and her clown partner,Debbie O’Carroll performed their brand of Education Theater throughout New England and even performed in Amman Jordan.

Busy.  She was busy.  Aside from being all she could be in the middle of her young only-child life she learned lots of ways to survive and thrive.

The most challenging and rewarding part of her life wasn’t:

Attending 5 colleges, 

or performing at Pier 39 San Francisco, 

or being in Paris France, 

or being a clown in the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit  

Nope! It was being a parent herself-a single divorced mom, doing it herself.  She was determined, adaptable, loving all around. She taught her girls self-respect, common sense and honor.  She’s so very grateful she was able to support her girls as a clown. 

With a Masters in Elementary Education, she is glad she impressed upon her girls that education was never a question.  It was a must.  Now, all grown up and living on their own, with wonderful careers, with one daughter living in Boston and the other daughter living in Denver.   Dollee is an empty nester sitting in the joy and love that her & her daughters brought into each other’s lives and the joy she now shares with her life partner Glen.

Fun.  Art.  Music.  Busy Happy Life.

Her creativity didn’t stop as a clown.  She’s dabbled in jewelry- making, taught design, was a face painter & balloon artist and these days you’ll find her painting.  Abstract painting with acrylic and multi media.  Bringing in new ideas.  Creating.  Taking the thought from her mind onto the canvas.  Bringing her thoughts to life.  She’s always looking for different ways to make thoughts come to fruition. There’s no form to it.  It’s a movement.  Creating as she goes. 

She also has a few business ideas.  With time on her hands, she’s wanting to use her time for good. 

Her paintings, ideas, creativity… they are all a work in progress.  As is she.  

She has been working on herself for a long time. 

“What started it?”. I asked her. 

“I met Toni.”, she joyfully proclaimed. 

Toni, who is Noelle’s mom, helped make Dollee the woman she is today.  Toni’s teachings resonated, the times together were enjoyable and the conversations were great.  They talked about the meat of life, there were no appetizers or soup to chit-chat about.  It was deep, honest, truthful conversation. And because of that digging into the self, she is such a better person now, manifesting things in her life and knowing deep down that anything is possible.  

The goals, accountability, support, and the friendships she’s made over the years are irreplaceable.  One time she was sewing a quilt by hand because she didn’t have a sewing machine, and Noelle bought her one.  It was a miracle!  Her very own sewing machine!  What a blessing it was…to be given to in that way.  That kind of receiving opened her eyes and her heart to greater giving, greater living.   

This woman knows with confidence who she is, who loves her and what she’s made of.  She is beauty.  She is beautiful. She creates beauty.  She sees beauty in everything and everyone.  

Life is expressive, happy, wonderful & perfect.

 

 

*Interview and write-up was done by Tracy.

Morgan Talbot

When I sit and contemplate my conversation with Morgan, all I can think of is a shy happy lark.  Is there even such a thing in this world? 

Well there is now. 

For such a young woman, her vulnerability, honesty and maturity were very evident the whole time we talked.

This daughter of a single mom finds her way through being 21, going to school and working FT.  “Juggling the two is a struggle, but it’s something I’ve got to do”, she says with a smile in her voice. 

As a result of taking an Automotive Class in high school, she met her boss and has been working for him at his garage for 3 ½ years.  There are days she wishes the tasks weren’t so redundant and there are days when time passes by so fast she never notices the repetitive nature of it all.  How about I do an oil change or a brake job today, she asks her boss?  Her hunger to learn keeps her asking for more and her patience settles her in…. for now.

Her delight and appreciation for being the daughter of a single mom is evident as she speaks of her mom’s strength, perseverance and their mother-daughter friendship.  The freedom she has earned over the years by showing her mom that she can be trusted gives her a sense of empowerment, a courageous attitude to come and go and a joyful longing to return home…..alongside her mom, her beacon, her mentor.

Also alongside her for 12 years was her mini-pinscher.  Samson.  He protected her, comforted her and lived life next to her since she was 8 & he meant the world to her.  Now that he passed away, a tattoo of him reminds her of the love they shared. 

Her maturity, humble fire and responsible manner keep her going.

Three mottos she lives by:

“The energy you put into the world is the energy you get back” 

“Virtues and character are far more important than what others think of you.”

“Do your best every day…for yourself.”  

The empowerment she has to succeed and accomplish, is a driving force in her life and she knew she had to come to terms with what she wanted to do as she realized growing old in the automotive field wasn’t it.  She went back to school in the fall of 2018 for Mechanical Engineering.  Morgan keeps doing what she needs to do so she can have the life she wants and keeps her focus on where this new journey of learning will take her.

In between all the doings that she has to do, she makes time to hang out with her mom enjoying the moments together. The laughter, the jokes, the wonderful relationship… the conversations they have, the things they do, the uniqueness they share.  That happens when two people spend years together.  An unbreakable bond.  A daughter who happily proclaims….”My mom is my best friend.”

 

*Both Morgan’s interview and spotlight write-up was done by Tracy.

Janet Truszkowski-Burton

An empty self, metamorphosed into a woman on a mission to serve and overflowing with peace.  A woman who is humble, kind & continuing on her life-long journey of self-becoming.

Daughter.  Grand-daughter.  Sister.  Mother.  Friend.  Wife.  Mom.

This woman who became her little sisters’ “mother” at a young age because their mom had to work to provide for the family, has learned many lessons in her lifetime.

The most important is to not lose yourself in the midst of life.  As Janet says,

Maintain your own interests & identity.  Be a mom, yes, and be a great mom…BUT….be sure to feed your soul….every day.  You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

It was really tough when her grandmother passed because she was such an inspiration and an integral part of Janet’s life.  Grandmother had a hard life, but she never gave up and she always found joy in the little things.  Janet loves to cook because of her grandmother’s teachings & remembers often, there is always so much to smile about.

Looking back, she now sees “hitting rock bottom” was a catalyst to drive her to care so much for young moms.  It’s what feeds her desire to make a difference.  She remembers her own struggle and if there was somebody in her life to walk through the valley with her back then, it wouldn’t have been so hard, so lonely, so mentally debilitating. “Learning from the mistakes that I’ve made, if I can help younger moms and teach them, support them, guide them…. THAT would be a good day.” 

Janet looks forward to teaching them to be financial responsible as well, and motivating them to keep their identity outside of their job and their children.

You never know how something like this will impact you but after being a “mental mess” she decided it was time to do something.  Holding fast to: “God is GOOD All the Time, All the Time God is Good!!”

She pressed on.  It was hard!  But she built herself up!  Just like her grandmother.

She took a job which became a better job, which then became her career.  Now, she is touching lives every day.  Her boss calls her his partner, which is quite an honor.  She’s extremely important to him and he lets her know it.  When the phone rings-she’s there.  When the clients have questions-she’s there.  When appointments fill up the day-she’s there.  It’s about building relationships and she is good at it!  Janet enjoys building friendships with clients and because of it, they trust her.  To be an integral part of the success of the business is a blessing.

Another blessing was stumbling upon Noelle and The Working Single Mom at a time when Janet needed it most.   Noelle’s strength, teachings, and blunt honesty about her own struggles, burdens &  breakthroughs, Janet learned to change her way of thinking, alter her future and become a stronger woman.  It has helped her have a peaceful, healthy, abundant life.

The biggest blessing of all was raising her two boys.  She gave her ALL to raising them and stand proud at who they’ve become.  Her youngest is off to college soon and she often wonders who will she be separate from her boys?  Giving to and doing for herself is a new thing and she’s anxious & excited at what will come next.  Never forgetting though, ‘Once a mom, always a mom.

This mom’s kind and nurturing spirit fills the room when she walks in.  Her friends look forward to her arrival.  10 years ago though, it was a totally different story!!  She didn’t’ get off the couch, let alone engage with people.  Now as she stands firm in her worth, she is able to say what she means, express herself in a loving way and touch lives one hug at a time.  

Janet continues to hope that she can take her love for supporting single moms to a more workable arena.  Women new to single motherhood, women in their 40’s starting to go through menopause, women who are unsure of themselves.  She knows “If you have someone to help you through it… things can be different.”  

To Be that Voice.  THIS is her passion!!! 

 

Buffie Norby

New Day.

New Life.

New Me.

That’s Buffie in a nutshell.

Buffie lives in a world of serving. Serving everyone and anyone who has a need. Her heart is bigger than many and her tank is overflowing with the compassion, care and love that it takes to get outside of oneself and give and give and..yet again..give.

In this world of battles, Buffie has overcome. All the ragged roads, the disheveled homes, the messed up realities and the wretched choices…. This over comer now lives a life where she sits in joy and gratitude for all she has, all she has been through and all she has become.

Quite an over comer, through and through. Moving from group home to group home, from school to school, and not knowing where the next bite of food or warm blanket was going to come from, she persevered.

In the middle of the mess, there was no vision for seeing a way out. Being in survival mode does that to a person. Building walls, acting out, living on the street were a way of life. It was what she knew, what she deserved and she took it as it showed up.

UNTIL She failed at taking her life, which was the exact sign she needed to dig deeper and love herself as she loved so many. That moment… as natural as the birds fly south, something in her gut told her it was time. Time & reason to change. It tugged at her heart, it breathed life into her soul. Somewhere deep down inside, she knew God was not done with her and there was a reason for all of it.

One step at a time, one miracle at a time, one friend at a time….she moved out of the old mindset, out of the old life, out of the old behaviors and owned her name in the world!

The rest is history.

Ninety pounds lighter on a journey for 90 more to disappear and getting a degree at 47, she smiles at her life and is over joyed with who she is…..

Smart Capable Enough – Buffie

Jude Barry

This middle aged single mom of four is on fire for living life large.  There’s a whole lot of joy, positivity & exhuberance for life going on in this woman!

Jude lives on the East Coast with her 4 kiddos and if she’s not spending quality time with them, she’s either traveling, enjoying her gaggle of girlfriends or working.  Working hard. 🙂

Yes…. her work. It is what allows her to take care of her children, decorate her home and travel abroad.  She is happy with her career, is going on her 19th year and is the happiest while serving her clients.  Her pride in being an insurance agent shines through as she truly cares about each and every client.  They appreciate her honesty & knowledge. There are times when a new customer who is shopping around will call her with a policy they want a quote on and after a heart-full conversation about their why’s and how’s & qualifying reasons, she then gives her ‘Best For You’ options… and they walk away a very satisfied new client.  

She’s one of those gals who shoots from the hip, tells it like it is and looks to speak her truth.  It’s her authenticity & engaging personality that draw you in.  And then it’s her caring soul, listening ear and inquisitive manner that keep you there.  “My friends say I have no strangers,” she says as she laughs at the thought of how truthful it is.   This can come across as ‘too nice’ sometimes, but she doesn’t seem to flutter at the thought of it.  

When Jude went down the road of divorce, she reached out to friends and faithful clients for prayers.  This was one of the toughest times for her.  Not only did it teach her some valuable lessons she’d never change, it showed the people in her life this woman who rocks it every day….it showed them her real, raw, vulnerable side.  This woman who pressed on with a glowing spirit was doing all she could to get through and it touched lives! This truth changed relationships for the best.

Speaking of ‘the best’ is is important for Jude to live her best life every day.  Taking what was taught to her & teaching her children.  THIS is what fills her cup.  Her tea cup that is.  Tea is part of her brand, part of who she is and adds a touch of class to her business logo. The tea cup & the tea leaves have deep meaning to her, as well as the name of her company “ Benefits Caring for You”, which names her 4 children.  She enjoys teaching them all that she does and how she does it.  Maybe one day one of them will be that colleague she is looking to hire.  One with drive, integrity, energy and willingness to work hard.

Jude shares her enthusiasm for life with the people she meets as much as she can.  Going out into the world with her vibe of positive energy, touching people lives with compassion & caring.  She’ll stop and give a compliment or ask a question in hopes to make their day.  She looks forward to making others feel like they matter.  She knows firsthand from all she’s been through that ‘The Energy You Put Out is the Energy You Will Attract.’  This is one of the reminders that drives her.

Her children know by watching their amazing mom what really matters.  Relationships, how you treat people & the footprint you leave behind.  For Jude, it’s her clients, accounts, family & God that give her reason to express gratitude for all she has.  In those moments this go-getter is joyfully reminded just how blessed she is.