I met Karen after we moved into her old space next to the Depot! It was years ago and it was my very first photography studio. She was so excited for me and so supportive and I loved her happy, joyful spirit so much from the second I met her. She is a world changer for sure and I am so blessed to know her. I think everyone that has crossed paths with her agrees that you can’t help but walk away from her feeling happier and more at peace for some reason. She’s incredible.
Thank you Karen for being a part of this. I adore you and your bravery.
Here is her story:
- My grandfather died of a heart attack while thatching his lawn. I was very young- and didn’t know what thatching was.We don’t thatch the lawn at my house. Apparently that’s not enough to prevent a heart attack. 😉
- Why do you want to be a part of this project?
Two reasons. One I admire you, Tracy and am flattered you thought of me. Secondly, we can and must do a better job of taking care of our hearts- this is a great way to get that message to more people.
- How have you been affected by Heart Health?
My brother, a strong and vibrant man had a heart attack in his 30s. Four years ago we almost lost my mom to heart failure. Both of them are still with us- and I treasure every moment of their lives.Last year my husband and I did a complete makeover of our lives. Neither of us had any signs of distress or elevated numbers, but we felt like aging was drawing a target on our adventurous life.We have eliminated several foods, changed our workouts, and feel much more in control of our health.
We would not have done this without the scares my family gave us or the help of a doctor committed to disease prevention not disease maintenance.
Still, we don’t thatch the yard…you can never eat too much kale or be too safe.
- What do you want people to know?
That there is a better way.That there are more reasons to chop vegetables than grab a bite.I spend much of my life encouraging people to “go for it” to be their best as a team or an individual. Part of being your best is truly caring for yourself.
No one else can manage your stress. No one else can make your daily choice to be healthy.
No matter how loving your family, how supportive your friends, you decide how to care for your heart.
You can either place it on the conveyor belt to a living hell or you can lovingly care for it each day.
We have one heart. One trip for this life. It might as well be the best it can be, right?
Oh. And don’t thatch the lawn.
- How has this all changed your life?
Truly, for the better. My mom has many health issues, and is very open about what caused them. So, I try to learn from her example. I also am more kind to people who have heart issues. Often they were doing the best they could when their ticker said “hey!” They don’t need judgements, or free advice. They just need love, because that’s what a heart is for; loving.
- What’s the most important thing in the world to you?
Joy. My joy comes from faith, family, and freedom to do as I please.
- If this was your last week on earth, how would you live it?
Exactly as I lived the week that just passed.I’d walk in the sunshine, hug my loved ones, and work with people who need what I offer.I imagine you expect people to say they’d indulge a dream they’ve denied, but I suppose that is the gift of losing my grandpa when he was too young to die.
I live a life I love and have checked enough off my bucket list to know that for my last week on earth I would do what I do, because I purposefully chose to do what I do.
I wish everyone would.
If I die when I am too young, I won’t leave many regrets.
That said, if you know something I don’t know, and this is my last week, I’m going to need some champagne, a case of silly string, and a chocolate cake.
- What are you passionate about?
So many things.I love to grow people. To watch them try new things – and succeed. That’s what my collaborative art is about.I’m passionate about helping others help others. 100 Strong and the work I’ve done with RYLA and “I’ll Help!” – Billings are prime examples. Together we can solve any problem.
I’m passionate about writing, and love to watch people laugh when they read my words.
I’m also passionately hopeful I will see my grandson flourish as an adult. I asked if he’d carry me from room to room when I get old and he said “I think I’ll just buy you one of those scooters.” I bet they’re fun to race so I’m going to hold him to it.
I’m also passionate about a piece of property I looked at today. It’s going to be my next thing… And, it doesn’t have lawns.
- What do you love about yourself?
My energy. My gray hair- I waited a long time for this stuff and it matches my jewelry.My rose colored glasses.
My capacity to figure things out.
That I’m old enough to admit I love things about myself.
- What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
- Anything else you want to add?
It’s just this one life. With one heart.We might as well love it.Wait.
Don’t thatch your yard!
Karen, you are amazing.
And… I will never thatch my yard.