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…
Originally from Houston, Texas, and now living in Killarney, Ireland
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 email@example.com.
She’s A Woman On Fire! feature is compiled by senior writer Becky Adams.
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