The hidden magic in your struggles

You may be new to Women on Fire or you may have been a part of this ever-expanding circle for years.

I am super happy and excited to start off 2015 with you!

Women on Fire exists to celebrate or discover what you’re “on fire” about, and to provide inspiration, strategies and support to bring you more of what you want into your life.

The Spark! is your home for ideas, inspiration, and strategies — and to feel cherished and supported.  Because you are!

(In addition, our monthly membership was created to super-size your experience here. See the P.S. below for a special surprise for you if you’re not yet an official member.)

Today our topic focuses on how to turn what’s been a big challenge in your life into one of your greatest gifts to the world.  Your real gifts – your true purpose — are often hidden in shame or embarrassment or fear of being found out.

The irony is that it is often our pain that shapes us and makes us so very special – and can help us to help change life for others.

Take these women, for example:

Oprah is famous for sharing her great struggles (poverty, teen pregnancy, unstable home life, sexual abuse) and for transforming her turmoil into the fuel that propelled her career to greatness and beyond anyone’s imagination.

And it is true, too, for a dynamic and inspiring woman I interviewed last week — ABC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo. You may have seen her on Good Morning America or in her last job at MSNBC.

Mara has written Thinspired, a brand-new book about her success in standing up to a nearly life-long food addiction battle to lose 90 pounds.  Even if you don’t have weight to lose, you will be empowered in whatever struggle you might face by how Mara persevered to overcome her demons and become the very best version of herself.

Her life’s great challenge with weight has now become her gift to the world.

Mara’s bingeing and food addiction was at least partially set into motion by a well-intentioned relative who insisted on monitoring and regularly weighing in Mara when she was a little girl.

To confuse matters, when this precious little girl lost weight at her weekly weigh-ins, her reward was a sweet treat such as ice cream!

In our interview, Mara shared how ashamed she was for her eating habits – and also her joy at the freedom of now saying the truth of her life.  And while her book has just been published, I believe she will help, inspire and influence many more people by revealing her greatest challenge than she ever would have in keeping silent even though she has a high-profile job on network television.

So, how is it for you? How can you turn your greatest challenges into your great strengths, as Oprah and Mara have done? Here are some questions to consider:

  • Are you aware of the secrets you keep hidden?
  • Have you overcome, worked through, healed from your challenges?
  • If you told your story, who might benefit?
  • If you die with your story inside of you, is that OK with you?
  • What potential is locked inside of you, hiding, waiting for you to welcome it into the world?

To get clear about your obstacles, past and present, write down all of the challenges that have shaped your life. Then, make a plan to bring them positively into your life.  What do you have to lose? My guess is you have everything to gain.

Have a fantastic week ahead and I am so thrilled to be on this road with you to living your most fulfilled and inspired life!


P.S. If you’re not yet an official member of Women on Fire, you are invited to join our monthly membership program where you’ll receive the interview with Mara Schiavocampo in your February membership package.

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January’s Book To Live By

This month’s Books To Live By selection is the perfect read to help kick start your personal and professional success in the new year.

From author, speaker and master Eastern philosophy teacher Deepak Chopra comes one of the most timeless spiritual guides to success.

Our January selection is….

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams by Deepak Chopra.

Whether you have been following Chopra for years or are brand new to his teachings, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success is a must-read if you are looking to cultivate abundance of all kinds in your life.

This book is truly a spiritual masterpiece, composed of tips and strategies to help you accept the present, let go of what can’t be controlled, and invite more success into your everyday life. Chopra guides you to identify and discard fear-based thought patterns and outlines more positive and effective ways to think things through.

Chopra’s guidance is simple and profound yet intimate and universal all at once. This book is nothing short of life changing, and I want to thank our featured guest in this month’s Women on Fire membership interview, Terri Cole, for the wonderful suggestion.

Here’s to your success in 2015!

With lots of love~

P.S. Speaking of kick-starting your success in 2015, did you know that registration for our annual Women on Fire retreat is officially open? I can’t think of a better way to invest in yourself and in your dreams this year. Spend an entire weekend reconnecting with your passion and reigniting your spark and leave with an action plan to make your big dream come true. :) Seats are going fast, so be sure to register today!

Time Sensitive! You don’t want to miss…

If you’re like me, you are running around like crazy preparing and planning for the holidays.

So I only want to take one minute of your time …
To tell you that our 2015 annual Women on Fire Retreat — Step Into Your Dreams ~ And Fly! — in beautiful downtown Chicago April 23-25, 2015 is officially open for registration!
And … if you register now and before December 31, 2014, you will receive an EXCLUSIVE INVITATION to join me and some of our special guests for a private VIP reception the night before the retreat for FREE. (If there is even space available at the reception after December 31, it will cost someone $125 to attend.)  Register today and you’ll be coming for free!
You will find ALL of the fabulous details and registration right here. With only 120 seats available and nearly 50 spots already claimed during our pre-sale for Women on Fire monthly members, this event is sure to sell out!
For any questions, please be in touch with our Member Care Director
Come Spring, I see you strolling down Magnificent Mile, relishing in the inspiring energy and the joy of being part of this amazing community of Women on Fire! What better way to propel yourself into the New Year than by making time to work on your best life, while surrounded by unconditional love and support, in one of the greatest cities in America?
Now, that’s a present to give yourself to go into the year with:-) Please register today!
P.S. Is there someone you want to share this special weekend with? A sister, daughter, mother, best friend or co-worker can make the weekend even more amazing! Many women are bringing someone they love and want to enjoy time with. And don’t miss out on the special pricing for women between the ages of 16-26!

The 5 most-often questions you ask me… Answered!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

If you’re anything like me right now, you’re eagerly tidying up 2014 to bring on the holidays and 2015.

(And I hope you’re having a little fun doing it as my colleague Meredith Schoenberger …uh, I mean Santa Claus … and I did last week during the Women on Fire Holiday Live Chat!)

Before we say goodbye to the year, I want to share with you the five questions I am most frequently asked.

These questions come to me all year long either in emails or private conversations or in public talks or forums.  Some are personal; some are serious; all are asked with love and genuine curiosity.

1. Debbie, you’re so positive. You’re so perky. Are you ever in a bad mood?

Hahaha! I was tempted to invite my husband answer this question. ;-)

Born on June 25, I am a Cancer, a Moon Child, so I wax and wane with the moon.

When I was a little girl, my mother would exclaim of my flair for being emotionally up or down (sometimes every other minute), “you’re sooooo dramatic and moody!”

I wish I knew then what I know now.  I would have flung myself across the floor and implored of her, “But, Mom, I am a Cancer, trying to express myself, and I am being mysteriously controlled by the moon!!”

I AM a positive person, and I see the glass half full, but that doesn’t keep me on occasion from being cranky, sad, angry or depressed about something upsetting.

Fortunately, after years of therapy and personal development, and at a stage in my life where I am happy, content and deeply fulfilled by my marriage, work, friends, family and colleagues, I have strategies to cope with the times I’m less than my happy self.

Chiefly, I stop the action and ask myself what is really at the core of my upset or mood. Self-awareness is key to living your dreams — and peace of mind.

No one can stay perky 100% of the time. Including me. (I am tempted though to ask Katie Couric how she does it?!)

2. Do you believe every person has a (fill in the blank) gift/spark/passion/purpose?

Yes, I do!

I’ve talked with and coached thousands of women over the years, and unless someone was profoundly and clinically depressed, I have always seen a spark inside of every single person.

She may not feel it.  She may not even believe it’s “in there.”  But it is.

Best-selling author Deepak Chopra once said that the single greatest job a parent must do for their child is to help them find their gift, their purpose, their passion.

Some of us are lucky and know it early on.  Others of us spend our lives seeking it.

But yes, your passion is in there and it is our parents’ jobs to help us find and nurture it when we are young. And, if we haven’t found it by the time we’re adults, we must make it our quest.

And age is no barrier to finding, embracing, and manifesting your gifts.

3. I’m not on fire.  How can I get in touch with my passion – and how will I know when I find it?

Do you remember a time you were “on fire” in your life? If so, that’s what finding your passion feels like.  You are utterly absorbed.  It doesn’t feel like work.  You’d do it for free.  It feels right.

Here are two quick ways to find your passion:

Slow down and listen to yourself.  Read. Explore. Allow yourself to feel. Go for joy, whether it’s volunteering at an animal shelter, baking a great pie, or skiing down a mountainside.  Whatever brings you joy, do more of it!

Ask others you trust what they see are your gifts, strengths and talents?  Often, those closest to you, including children, know what you are special and gifted at doing – even if you aren’t sure.

Why should you put in the effort to find your passion?  You will spend the rest of your life way happier and more fulfilled!

4. Don’t you get tired listening to people’s problems all the time?

Although I no longer have a one-on-one coaching practice (I’m too busy running Women on Fire!), I have coached women for nearly two decades.  I consider it an honor when people share with me their deepest dreams, desires, pain and disappointments.

A great coach (therapist, teacher, parent, friend) remains separate from the person who entrusts them with their heart and soul.

The truth is I am actually enlivened when I get to share in women’s lives as they search for, discover, struggle and go for their dreams – bumps and all!

I have never been tired by the gift of listening to someone genuinely and authentically share her journey.

What is tiring — and why I suspect I get this question — is because we all know someone who is a help-rejecting complainer.

These are people who have no intention of a better life although they claim otherwise. They live to complain, throw up roadblocks, make excuses, tell you why it won’t work, and in general, stay stuck and miserable. No matter what you do to help!

That’s tiring. It’s not the Women on Fire way of living so you don’t have to worry about that here!

And, while I’ve placed it as the fifth question, the question I am asked MORE than any other is …

5. What about Men on Fire?

The fact that this question is on so many women’s (and men’s) minds tells me there is a crying need for a way for men to connect as we do here at Women on Fire.

Because I hear this question so often, I’ve wondered about it myself.  And I believe that Women on Fire receive so much joy and connection from this community that they want it for their husbands, boyfriends, partners, sons and male friends, too.

Many of you know my husband Rob Berkley is an extraordinary executive coach who works with a lot of men.  So I know from his work, too, that there is great need.

I believe in the future there will be a “Women on Fire” for men to gather in ways that suit their particular needs just as we’ve done here.

In the meantime, the greatest gift we can give the men in our lives is to be our full and radiant, confident and loving selves.  It’s inspiring for men and women alike to see a woman go for it!

Thank you for your questions.  I’m always happy to answer whatever is on your mind.

Thank you so much, too, for being a part of this ever-growing circle of thousands of women dedicated to being your best.

I’ll be back next week for the final SPARK! of the year.

Then, together we’ll welcome a new year and a fresh start to making your dreams come true.  What is it you want to be telling me a year from now about your life? :-)


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Still searching for the perfect gift? Women on Fire to the rescue!

With holiday shopping in full swing, have you thought about giving someone the gift of a private session with a New York City style consultant, or a few hours of coaching or yoga, or delicious cookies, or inspiring cards, prints, or stationery?

These are just a few of the gifts and services our Women on Fire monthly members have to offer. And you can purchase just in time for the holidays!

It is my pleasure to introduce the first Women on Fire Directory of Gifts and Services (you receive a free listing when you are a monthly member) where you will discover a variety of gifts and services suitable for the holidays as well as all year long!

Please click here to download our Women on Fire Gifts and Services Directory, Winter 2014-15 edition! You also will find the directory on our website here.

Happy shopping! And have a wonderful holiday ~


Debbie Signature

P.S. Would you like to feature your gift, service or business in the next edition of our Directory? We invite you to become a monthly Women on Fire member to receive an invitation to participate — and so, so much more. Plus, being a part of Women on Fire’s monthly circle and private Facebook group provides you with the best inspiration, strategies and support that Women on Fire has to offer!

P.P.S. Wait, wait, there are more holiday gift possibilities…be sure to check out our NEW Women on Fire store where you can purchase a collection of our favorite products and programs!


How a mom made a 10-year dream come true!

If you haven’t seen this video, please watch how this young mom makes a dream she’d held for 10 years finally come true.  (Warning: you will need a box of tissues!)

Click the image above to view the video or use this link.

After I watched this video, and cried, I kept thinking about Kellie Haddock of Orlando, Florida and her 10-year dream to thank the men and women who saved her baby son’s life.

How many dreams have been living inside of you for the past five years? Ten years? Twenty years?

Kellie shows us so powerfully how her dream happened and that it is never too late to pursue what is in your heart.  Recently, she said after years of dreaming her dream, “now the reality far exceeds the dream.”

Maybe you have a long-held dream that seems impossible or impractical; or a desire that you’re too fearful to pursue; or a wish that you barely remember because it’s been buried inside for so long.

You never know what’s going to happen when you put your dream out into the world.  Except chances are, when you act on your dream, you will touch someone — or many someones.  Just as Kellie did.

As of this moment, Kellie’s thank-you project video has been viewed YouTube by nearly three million people – and that’s in just one week!

Kellie’s 10-year dream actually launched an even bigger dream of hers.  Yes, she wanted to thank the medical personnel who helped her during her unimaginable tragic journey in 2004.  But what she really wanted is to make the world a better place.

And, isn’t that really the purpose of making your dreams come true?  To create a little bit of Heaven for someone else – or maybe the world?

“What if we all spent a little more time focusing on what’s right instead of what’s wrong?” Kellie wrote in her most recent blog post. “There’s no shortage of everyday heroes out there— let them know what they mean to you. How many people can we thank together?”

Kellie’s courage — to revisit her tragic story and make her long-time dream to thank people who are rarely, if ever, thanked come true — most likely transformed her life — and now millions of others.

In honor of Kellie, I am joining her #saythankyou campaign.  I invite you to join too.

Here is all you have to do:

1) Think of an everyday hero that’s made a difference in your life.
2) Grab your phone and film your “thank you.”
3) Post your short video on Facebook and challenge your friends to do it too.
4) Tag it #saythankyou

Here is my video to thank a hero in my life.

Click the image above to view the video or use this link.

Thank you, Regina Blos, for your vision, intelligence, courage, perserverence, love and caring. You make my life and our world so much better!

OK, you’re next! Who is a hero you want to thank?

And while you’re at it: what long-held dream do you have? Taking a step toward one of your dreams and thanking a hero is a winning combination, for sure.

Have a wonderful week! And I’ll see Women on Fire monthly members on the Holiday LIVE CHAT on Tuesday evening.


Women on Fire Gift Guide 2014

Enjoy some of our favorite gifts for the upcoming holiday season!

30 below Women on Fire gift guide


1. Hillary: The Photographs of Diana Walker ($28) 2. Happy Mail by A Beautiful Mess ($20) 3. Table Topics ($25) 4. Gold Luxe Pocket Planner by Sugar Paper LA ($10) 5. Silpat Baking Mat ($18) 6. What I Wish For You Journal by Knock Knock ($10)

Women on Fire gift guide 100 below


1. Magic Carpet Yoga Mat ($89) 2. Eden Scarf by FashionABLE ($65) 3. Comfort Zone by Trudy Dujardin ($48) 4. Vegan Leather Weekender by Sole Society ($70) 5. Wool Throw by Faribault ($79) 6. Year of Wishes Candles ($49)

Women on Fire Gift Guide Splurge worthy


1. Momofuku Milk Bar 3 Month Subscription ($175) 2. Glacier Necklace by J.Crew ($125) 3. Alpaca Grey Shawl by Cuyana ($195) 4. Long Pajamas by Marigot Collection ($132) 5. Down Sweater Jacket by Patagonia ($229) 6. Teddi Tote by Gigi New York ($295)

Happy Holidays!


The Women on Fire team

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December’s Book To Live By

This month’s Books To Live By selection is nothing short of confectionary perfection and a “must have” for your kitchen!

From world-renowned pastry chef and award-winning New York City bakery owner Dominique Ansel comes a delicious inside look at some of his most celebrated recipes.

Our December selection is….

Dominique Ansel The Secret Recipes Book To Live By Women on Fire

Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes.

It’s no secret that I’m a BIG fan of the sweets and treats that Dominique Ansel creates, and his new cookbook is no exception. This book is a true masterpiece, focusing as much on the inspiration behind his creations as on the delectable pastry recipes.

I found it nearly impossible to flip through without wanting to dust off my baking supplies, and the gorgeous photography by Thomas Schauer is itself almost good enough to eat. You’ll relish the Chocolate Pecan Cookies, the gluten-free (yes, gluten-free recipes too!) Christmas Morning Cereal, the Frozen S’mores, and of course, the famous Cronut™!

Dominque Ansel: The Secret Recipes would make the perfect gift for dessert lovers and for anyone who likes to get creative in the kitchen! Food Network claims this book “brings bakery magic into your home kitchen,” and I couldn’t agree more!

Here’s to having a little more magic this winter with some help from Dominique Ansel!

No, you’re not crazy. It’s just the holidays!

Time to bring everything outside inside.  So, I took one last swing on my hammock in the autumn chill and sunshine today for the last time in 2014.

Surveying the dead and crunchy leaves around me — leaves that were tender green shoots only months ago — I began to feel sad about the passage of time.

I got teary thinking about holidays past with treasured relatives who are long gone.

Then, I began to panic about everything I need to accomplish before the end of the year.  Before you know it, I was in the middle of an end-of-the-year, melt-down muddle!

As the year closes in, are you feeling sad, or pressured, or as though things are falling apart?  Or, are people around you melting down?

If so, it is not in their imagination, or yours, or mine!  Talk to any therapist who will tell you that stress is more pronounced this time of the year than any other.

The pressure of holidays coming so close together, tied with deadlines to wrap up the year and start a new one, can leave you feeling like you’re running a marathon on a hamster wheel!

Add to it the expectation that we are to be happy and of good cheer during this time of year when biologically we were designed to withdraw and hibernate — and no wonder holiday times can take a toll on us.

So, as many of us gather this week for Thanksgiving, it’s a good time to remember what can give you comfort, lift you up, and keep you sane:

  •  Hug and kiss the ones you love the most and tell them exactly what you love and appreciate about them. (“You bring me so much joy and I feel so cared about by you.”)
  • Graciously say “no” to more things than you said “yes” to. (“That’s a lovely offer and I wish we could but we can’t.”)
  • Take stock of all the good or great things you did or that happened this year (I bet you can find at least 50 terrific things that made proud or made you smile in 2014. Make a list, invite others to join you, then share and celebrate each other’s good news and achievements.)
  • Find someone to talk to who will listen to you express your feelings without giving you unasked for advice. (Friend, relative, colleague, therapist!)
  • Sit with a friend and listen to them share their own feelings of “holiday crazy.” (Your chance to let them know they’re not!)
  • Schedule naps and down time now for the next month. Keep your tank full and the holidays will be easier. (Extra points for inspiring others to do the same! Double extra points for naps with pets and babies.)
  • Focus your time and attention on the people who are most important to you.

On the Women on Fire monthly members’ LIVE CHAT recently, we talked about a special process to help you focus your time and energy to get the most joy during the holidays. It starts with making a list of the 8-10 people who are THE most important of all and putting your time and attention on them!

  • Reach out to someone who is lonely – and let them know you’re thinking about them.
  • Vow to create a peaceful home and stress-free environment. (Your home is your sanctuary. What needs to happen to make it an oasis this holiday season? What is one thing you can do right now to make it more peaceful?)
  • Take time to be grateful.  (Nothing shifts my mood faster than keeping a daily gratitude list.)

Have a beautiful week.  I hope you find yourself at peace and celebrating in ways that uplift you.

I will be on Martha’s Vineyard for Thanksgiving with my husband Rob and close friends — and am looking very forward to a relaxing time, creating new memories with people I love.

That tinkling sound you’ll hear?  It will be me toasting you!

For all your love and support and my enormous gratitude that you are in this amazing circle of fabulous women (and quite a few men) making the world a better place.


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She’s A Woman on Fire! Meet Kristy Nicholas

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other.  She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…


Kristy Nicholas

Originally from Houston, Texas, and now living in Killarney, Ireland

Member: #00111

Member since: July 16, 2012

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work. What are you “on fire” about?

I am on fire about where I am in my journey. In 2014, I moved to Ireland to be closer to my partner, Noel, and his sons, Sam and Christopher. We are building a family in which love and life are celebrated — along with all major Irish and U.S. holidays!

I changed my employer so I could select my own location and keep doing work that energizes me. All of this stemmed from a Vision Day with Debbie Phillips in July 2013. It was my birthday present to myself. I highly recommend it!

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

I connected through a wonderful person, Woman on Fire Melissa McClain. She told me about an amazing woman that I had to meet named Debbie Phillips. She introduced us, and the rest of the story is a rich, delicious history of a life better lived.

What is your favorite part of the day?

I love crawling into bed, as I am a huge fan of sleep. I particularly love the moment I’m comfy in bed after a productive or happy day, when I can name a long list of what I am grateful for in my life before I drift off. I try to end every day with gratitude.

What is the last book you read that you would recommend to other Women on Fire?

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. I am a huge fan of hers and of the concept of “being in the arena.” Fellow Woman on Fire Lani McKinnon introduced me to Brené, making her even more special to me.

What is the one thing you’re most proud of?

I am proud that in late 2013, during some of my darkest moments — I was exhausted with shingles, lonely and stressed — I listened to my dad, who told me to focus on the positives, and I found the faith to improve my situation. I am also proud that I was smart enough to ask for help.

If you had an unexpected free day, how would you spend it?

There is an amazing beach, Rossbeigh, not too far from Killarney. I would ask Noel to take me there.

What is your favorite city in the world?

I am a traveler at heart, so I will say it is the city I haven’t visited yet. I always like to see new places!

Name a Woman on Fire who has inspired you and tell why.

Jan Allen inspires me every time we speak. One of the ways I sought help during late 2013 was by hiring a coach. I chose Jan because she and I share the similar experiences of embarking on a relationship later in life and then building a family with our partner’s children. I thought I was only hiring a coach, but what I got was a coach, a loving mentor and a friend. It is as her stepson Michael told her: she gives “mind power.”

What’s your big dream?

I am living my big dream! I moved to Ireland to be with Noel. I was able to start my own business and keep doing work I love. Plus, I am having so much fun! The side benefit of a nonlocation-dependent job is that I can be where I need to be, when I need to be there, such as at birthday parties and weddings or in hospital rooms.

I have family and friends across the globe who enrich and bless my life. The only thing I could add to this big dream would be to receive a phone call from Oprah Winfrey asking me to work with her! I’ve changed that a bit, as I used to say I wanted to work for her. :)

If you had the opportunity to teach a child one strategy that would help to guide her life, what would that be?

I would flip this a bit and teach her parents a strategy. It’s the gift my parents gave me, and the lesson is to teach your child that she is enough just because she exists. As I told Oprah when I interviewed her in February 2002 for O Magazine, I am so grateful to my parents because they loved me just for being Kristy.

I didn’t need to be a great piano player or terrific athlete. I didn’t even need to believe in the same things as them. All they ever asked is for me to be the best Kristy I could be. That was enough. They chose to welcome me into their lives, and they loved me from the moment they knew I existed.

I didn’t have to earn the love. It was freely given. Unconditional love sets children free and allows them to know they can do anything. I know many more incredible experiences and gifts will come my way. What I know for sure—none will top unconditional love.

What is something that we might be surprised to learn about you?

I think what folks find most surprising about me is that I am a classic introvert. I am charismatic and energetic in a crowd only if I’ve had enough time to recharge on my own. I figured this out on a cruise with my girlfriends.

We were having a great time, yet I was feeling totally depleted after the second day. So, I told them I needed to go sit on the beach by myself, and I came back feeling so much better. Most of them are huge extroverts, so it was a revelation that I could reenergize by being by myself!

Name three women who have influenced your life, and tell what you’ve learned from each.

Since I’ve talked a lot about fellow Women on Fire, I’m going to introduce you all to some non-Women on Fire who inspire me:

I will never forget a nine-hour drive I took with my grandmother, Meme. Along the way, we discussed a potential big move for me. She said I should “just do it” and told me about her experience of moving from Arkansas to California with my grandfather, mother and aunt.

She’d never been so far away from her home and family, but she even managed to get herself to the hospital to give birth to my uncle when my grandfather was away at sea. I was so impressed by her gumption. I thought, “I come from that; it’s in me too.”

My mother inspires me in countless ways. She is the rock of our family. I think what I find most amazing about her is the way she loves us fully. There is no halfway holiday or celebration in our house — we go all the way.

Love is in the details for her, and she strives to ensure that every detail is well tended. And, when she’s needed, she shows up. once even driving with me from Seattle to Texas with a dog and a cat. I think the hardest thing for her was “letting” me move to Ireland. Despite tears and some questions, her final words were “Do what makes you happy.”

My nieces Kimber and Bryleigh inspire me to be a good example, to show them what you can do when you believe in and love yourself. I write them a letter every month, and each Christmas, I compile a book with pictures of them that their mother, Sara, sends me (she’s pretty inspiring too).

Who cheers you on?

My life is full of cheerleaders. I am humbled by those people around me who deeply care for and love me. While there are countless folks I could name here, I want to recognize someone I love and admire so greatly: my hero, Lo Lyons.

She’s been fighting cancer for more than five consecutive years, and you hit double digits if you count her first bout. Yet, she’s a woman who always has a smile on her face, a hug to comfort me, and genuine concern for what’s going on with me, no matter what she is dealing with.

When I moved to Ireland, she took a selfie and told me “I’ve got my eye on you.” I look at it and laugh often. She’s amazing. When cancer struck the second time, we started using the phrase LOL—Love on Lo. So, Mrs. Lyons, here’s a huge LOL for all the love you give.

What is your favorite “pig-out” food?

This one is so easy for this Texas girl — Mexican food and a cold Margarita!

What are the top three songs on your iPod right now?

For over a year now, my alarm has been Katy Perry’s Roar. The night I moved to Ireland, I listened to Sarah Bareilles’ Brave on repeat as I flew over the Atlantic. Another song I love right now is John Legend’s All of Me.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced and how did you overcome it?

It definitely wa choosing love. I fell in love with a man, Noel, who lived in Ireland. When I began dating him, I knew he had two young sons, so that meant I had to fall in love with all three of them — there was no partial deal.

I also realized that loving him would require me to dramatically change my life and relocate to Ireland. I couldn’t love Noel the way I do if he was willing to leave Sam and Christopher behind in Ireland and start a new life in the United States with just me. So we dated, and dated and dated long distance for for two and a half years long before I told work and family I planned to move last January.

At the time, I wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to work; I just knew I had to do it. I loved him that much. Having faith that it would all work out well and the courage to make myself completely vulnerable was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

And frankly, because I love my independence, some days it’s still hard. That said, the joy that has come thus far is already worth the leap of faith. And I know that we’re just getting started.

What is your go-to self-care strategy?

To be literal, I like to “go to” the spa. I’ve never visited a spa I didn’t like! One of my favorite activities is going to a pedicure spa with my friend, Mary, or my mom, sister-in-law, Sara, and my niece, Kimber. I guess now that I have a second niece, Bryleigh, we’ll have to introduce her to Isle Pedispa as well!

When you reflect on your life so far, what is the first word or two that comes to your mind?

I love words so I’ll pick two: courageous and happiness.

More about Kristy Nicholas…

Kristy Nicholas founded Clarity Global Communications to help businesses and people tell their stories and so she could move to Ireland with the love of her life, Noel and his two sons. She has a cat, Tuna, and a dog, Tucker. Kristy previously worked in investor relations and communications at Expedia Inc. and ExpressJet Airlines. Kristy is a Texas girl at heart. Her hobbies include reading, traveling and hosting great celebrations. Kristy would love for you to say hello to her at knicholas(at)clarityglobalcomm(dot)com.


She’s A Woman On Fire! feature is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.

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