"I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it,
I want to have lived the width of it as well." --Diane Ackerman, author & poet
Yep, that's me with my mom at the beginning of things. Aren't her glasses awesome! And I know you want to pinch those chubby cheeks of mine.
If you have ever been afraid...afraid to try, afraid to fail, worried about disappointing others, I understand. I am that person, too. This makes it very hard to be creative, to express yourself and to connect with others. Let's work together and find our best selves.
I grew up on a muddy, beautiful, noisy, peaceful, wonderful farm outside a tiny town in Iowa. My sibs and I were the fourth generation to live on that piece of land, and I felt my roots go deep there. A tomboy, I could often be found following my big brother around--building tree houses, climbing on roofs, or playing in a "band" with makeshift instruments. My sister and I sprawled on the floor in our room, creating great messy works of art to be hung in the kitchen.
I also craved being alone. I devoured books and roamed the farm, visiting the animals or exploring the woods. I loved to get utterly lost in a book, pretend play or art. The "baby of the family, " I was small for my age, often sick--and so full of fears and worries. Away from the safety of home, I strived to be invisible by learning quickly, asking no questions and following the rules well.
I remember my house being loud, a little chaotic and messy (as in "where's my other shoe? The bus is coming!"). It was full of joking and laughter, lively debate, visitors from around the world, and love. Home was an important training ground for my painfully shy, introverted self. Although I eventually learned how to tolerate being more "visible" in the world, it was a long, long time before I saw how precious it is to be truly seen. That's scary, life-long work for this girl.
I went on to become a stay-at-home mom, mental health therapist and educator, a preschool teacher and co-director, and finally an artist and teacher. I married an amazing guy, got my Ph.D., lost my parents, sent my children out into the world, found my "tribe," lived abroad and came back home again. I took the long way around, but I don't regret anything. There were things I needed to learn, still do. Sometimes I'm still scared. Often I am worried. I try not to let that drive me. There are just too many experiences out there and one short life.
Education and Training
Certified Metal Clay Artisan, PMC Connection
Ph.D. Purdue University, Counselor Education, West Lafayette, IN
M.S. ED. Purdue University, Agency and Community Counseling, West Lafayette, IN
B.S. Iowa State University, Psychology, Ames, IA
Ames Community Arts Council
International Society of Glass Beadmakers
Midwest Lampworkers’ Guild
M.J. Riggs Award, Iowa State University Memorial Union (2014)
Bill Pelz Arts Advocacy Award, Ames Community Arts Council (2016)