My life has been anything but ordinary, but it didn't start out that way. I grew up in a small country town in western Minnesota, one block from a cornfield. Moving to Minneapolis was once as "big" a life as my rural roots could imagine; but life had other ideas.
My "ordinary" life changed on August 1, 2007, when the 35W bridge collapsed during rush hour traffic. At 6:05pm, on my drive home from work, the ground beneath me gave way and my car took a nose dive into the Mississippi River. I thought that was where my life would end, trapped in my car at the bottom of a murky river. When it didn't, I vowed to make good on the gift I was given - a second chance at life.
Making good on that gift started by turning my attention to healing. A broken back and a severe case of PTSD took a central role of my life as I learned to navigate the new realities of my body, heart, and mind. My professional life had already exposed me to the impact of PTSD on an intellectual level, but it's my lived experience that has made me an expert.
In 2013, at the age of 30, I followed breadcrumbs toward my adolescent dream of opening a creative space for youth. Those breadcrumbs turned into a vibrant community art studio called Courageous heARTS. In 2020, that chapter came to a close as it succumbed to the challenges of a global pandemic. Founding and leading a nonprofit was one of the best and most challenging things I have ever done. You can read more about it here. Now I host the Courageous Hearts Collective - an online space for adults to practice being human.
For much of my life, I've let who I am suppose to be have power over who I am. After years of deep inner work, I've come to embrace my whole self - even when it doesn't fit into the box someone has assigned to me. I am full of paradoxes and try to keep my feet firmly planted in the gray "land of and." There, I can be a squishy enigma guided by my heart rather than "suppose tos."
- When I was 16, I served on the Board of Directors for a start-up nonprofit. When I was 17, the adults on the board voted me into the role of Vice President. I've been trying to live up to what they saw in me ever since.
- I've worked at the largest nonprofit in Minnesota and, arguably, one of the smallest (Courageous heARTS)
- I have two of my values - intention and integrity - tattooed on my foot.
- Noticing is a specialty of mine. I pay attention to the details and get curious about people, places, things and ideas. Status quo is not my modus operondi.
- I'm the daughter of a teacher and a third-generation small business owner. They taught me well.
- I don't have any kids - but my husband and I do have three cats and a dog. Sometimes all six of us hang out together in our tiny living room - or even on the same couch!