« Hello »
I’m so glad you’re here! I’d like to tell you a little about me…
I grew up in upstate New York and have lived here all my life. As a child, I spent a lot of time exploring nature, observing the tiniest frosty snow design and catching slimy pollywogs so I could watch them grow.
I was fortunate to belong to a large family with members living on different continents, namely North America, Europe, and Australia. I am Lakota (Sioux) and German. As a family, we traveled often and experienced different cultures. I wrote journal entries and even tried to sketch what I saw, although I didn’t feel like I was talented at writing or drawing when I was young.
As a visual person I love writing prompts that let you choose a picture and write about its character, setting, or event. When I look at a newspaper article, my eyes go right to the photos first. That’s exactly what happened when I read an article about my great-uncle Johnny. My eyes zoomed right to the photo of six men, standing in a jungle, holding a Japanese flag. So many questions popped into my head! Who were these men? Where were they? Why were they holding the flag? The article told a portion of their story. These men were Indian Code Talkers. I had no idea what that meant. That day, at my parents’ kitchen table, was the start of my quest for information about the seven Sioux Code Talkers and my great-uncle’s service in the First Cavalry Division in WWII.
As I searched for code talker information, I began to learn more about my Lakota background. My mother grew up on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. After boarding school, she enrolled in college and moved to Rochester, NY where she met and married my father. He was born in (West) Germany and had moved to America.
My parents raised me, and my four siblings, with values of bravery, fortitude, and generosity. They taught us that generosity can take many forms: giving money and gifts; spending time with others; lending advice; using kind words to compliment others. My father worked hard and met his goal of becoming a business owner–many times over. Before he died, he ran several successful businesses, mostly in the Tool & Die industry. I always knew he was generous, but I didn’t realize how many lives he touched until his funeral. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people showed up in a terrible snowstorm to pay their respects. I remember person after person stopping to shake my hand, telling me how my Dad gave his time and talents to help them start their own business. I knew this was something he did. What I didn’t know was how many lives my Dad touched with his wisdom and generosity. He left quite a legacy. My husband and I hope our own children and grandchildren learn the values of generosity, courage, and fortitude too.
Today, I am an author who reads and writes about people who inspire others, books about important values, like being courageous or facing fears, or approaching struggles one step at a time. My hope is to continue writing and sharing stories that spark a commitment to make our world a better place.
« Work Hard and be a Dreamer »
I always had big dreams. When I was young, I wanted to be:
- a nurse (my first drawing in kindergarten)
- a ballerina (although I danced for 8+ years, I never did get to study pointe)
- an Olympian (first in long jump, then volleyball, I never got to the Olympics though)
- a doctor (I went into college as a pre-med major, but didn’t get there either)
- a pharmacist (I loved my job working in the pharmacy while in college, but felt I needed to use the degree I just earned…psychology and education)
- a teacher (I enjoyed inspiring young minds for over 30 years!)
- a children’s writer (Now, a published author)
- SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators)
- NYSUT/NYSTRS (New York State United Teachers-Retired)
- RACWI (Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators)