Make it Happen: Action + Reflection = Change

This year, I decided to choose a mission word for 2019. My word is action because dreaming big is just the beginning, but change requires so much more than a great idea.  We need a plan for action with results… No matter if we are 14 or 41….

Every month, I am going to complete #soulinspiredchallenges and make my goals a reality. I have chosen “action” as my mission because I want to demonstrate what can happen when you fully believe in yourself.

I am a former foster youth, survivor, warrior, and single parent. My story is about overcoming but it is also a story of choices – I choose not to be limited by failure. Throughout my life, I have struggled with self-belief and making the best choices.

Self-belief is the ability to visualize my potential instead of focusing on the pain of my past. Self-belief allows me to live and fulfill my passion and purpose.

Early on in my journey, I rarely opened up in relationships, mostly because I over analyzed and started to think that if I was completely honest, I would get hurt. In the past, I had reservations about being completely authentic because my fear would seem to get the best of me. I would retreat and let self-doubt take over. My anxiety told me that something would go inevitably wrong. Relationships were unsuccessful because it was easier to brainstorm all the things that could possibly go wrong than all the ways it could go absolutely right. I knew my disbelief kept me stuck when I knew I had every right to be free.

Why didn’t I self-correct? Why didn’t I try harder to become less defensive? Over time, I learned that relationships are hard work, but most of all, they just need trust, time and patience to grow. Action is required to progress and propel ourselves forward. This is for sure- we are constantly in flux.

I have found myself on the fringe,  and almost given up entirely, resigning myself to my setbacks. Fortunately, I eventually self-corrected and chose transformation. I emerged stronger and more determined to succeed.  I learned to overcome my fears. It didn’t happen naturally. It was difficult because I had to acknowledge my flaws and change my focus.

The irony is that I was hindering my own evolution because I  was fighting the woman I “could have become” if I hadn’t failed myself and others. It took me a while to realize that we have capacity for healing… There is not a special code for breaking through your pain to get to your purpose. Sometimes purpose is revealed in the pain. I have failed countless times in relationships because I built walls of steel or wore my heart on my sleeve.

Guess what? A few people actually stuck around to reveal unconditional and unrelenting acceptance. I have been fortunate to experience relationships that flourished because of compassion and grace. Thanks to them, I can write these paragraphs.

I have battled my insignificance and learned that my flaws are not a death sentence but an awakening to my own discovery. I am much more on my way to experiencing freedom than staying imprisoned by fear and anxiety. In the past, my fear of abandonment latched onto small indiscriminate facts and turned themselves into novels within seconds. These moments translated into self-hate.  I didn’t even realize I was struggling because I was in survival mode. I felt numb while trying to cope with loss after loss. I wasn’t living like my life mattered…and I was only susceptible to more ache and loss. I finally made changes in my life. . .

My Mantra.

Every day.

I will understand my value

In this world

and take action.

I will practice-





Positive self-talk.



I understand my value

in this world and 

 will love myself

Every day.

This journey affords many lessons to be cultivated- remnants of the previous seasons exist to provide my life with lessons not to be taken for granted.  I am very much that lotus in muddied waters. I am surviving and learning to thrive as a warrior.  I want to make a difference and  keep growing and expanding my understanding of myself and others. I want to show compassion and grace, but in reality – I need to offer myself compassion and grace each day.

I will live intentionally and take action. I embrace my full worth and will keep stepping into my future because I know hope through resiliency.

Finally, I am not ashamed  of my past. I claim my recovery.  I affirm how my action and/or inaction determine the outcomes for my life. There is a promise hidden in the muck, a pearl of wisdom waiting to be grasped-  Our trauma does not have to hold us back, if we understand how our healing can move us forward.

This year, I will be posting  #soulinspiredchallenges via @soulinspiredkcr

(Facebook, Instagram and twitter)

You are invited to follow me and take action in your own life. Together, we can make it happen!









Resiliency Lessons in Action


I recently attended the #ocpa2018 annual conference about Resiliency and was also scheduled to be a program session presenter on Friday at 9 a.m.!

Early Friday morning, I was getting ready when I got a call on my hotel phone at 6:30 am from my babysitter.

It’s not the call you ever want to get, but at this time, my babysitter told me that my son had a temperature of 102.

I made a few calls, one of which, was to my emergency contact who had a sick child of her own. I made the call to leave the conference and cancel my program session. I spent a great deal of time preparing and was going to share 15 resiliency practices.

I knew the workshop was just an hour but my son was every second of my life. I loaded all my stuff into the elevator and headed home.

I am thankful for the lesson about managing priorities and actualizing what is most important.

I reflect a lot (a resiliency practice) & knew there was also a secondary lesson in this!

In life, we are asked to prepare ourselves for the next step, even when it fails to send a formal announcement. Change just happens. Life precariously unfolds & we have to be willing to do the heart-work, the hard work of preparing and fulfilling our purpose in the midst of stressors and stress.

We never know when we will be given the opportunity to step into our future.

My session for others became a reminder & full-embodiment of what I need to practice in my own life, daily.

Resilience is accessible to everyone. We ensure our ability to cope when we welcome change, even when it is uncomfortable. Give yourself permission to try and fail and try again. It’s especially hard when we experience chaos. We can bounce back when we make the choice to lead with our purpose. Our attitude and choices are integral to how we move forward, through pain, loss, illness, trauma, abuse, disappointment, fear, hurt, etc.

Begin the heart-work today. Cultivate ways to stay viligant about caring for your own needs and the needs of those you love. Do not procrastinate or say, “I have plenty of time.” Start with a single step and another. Write down one goal today and do it. Never Never Give up!




The Gift of Mentoring

In the fall of 1996, at age 19, I was a former foster youth and freshman at college. I knew I was financially on my own  but was scared about navigating life and so much more. There was so much unknown and I wondered many times, “Will I make it?!” In my first semester, I was designated a federal work study (FWS) student in my financial aid award package. I was offered a job in the college cafeteria and met my first job supervisor, Crystal Browning. She told me about my job duties; I was required to clean the waffle bar every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as, serve food in the buffet lines during the evenings. I remember being a little pessimistic- I knew there had to be better jobs on campus, but it all worked out! I am thankful that my student employment job led me to my life-long mentor and friend. (And I loved my job so much, I worked in the cafeteria all four years during college!)

My college didn’t offer a mentoring program, but I remember all the times that Crystal asked me about my goals and what I wanted to accomplish. I told her that I always wanted to get my driver’s license but didn’t have a car or lessons to drive. Crystal not only heard me, she responded. She taught me how to drive, with her three-old daughter in the backseat! When I look back over my time in college, Crystal was my “unofficial” mentor.


I remember when Crystal got another job on campus and she made sure to let me know that I was welcome to visit anytime. That might be an expected statement, but it meant a lot. No matter what story or experience I shared, she listened. During college, Crystal was more than my mentor and ally, she was my family. She not only taught me how to drive- she taught me how to believe in myself. Her faith demonstrated so much love and compassion. I have always admired how she lived with purpose and faithfulness. She is an example of a strong Christian woman and want to follow her lead and walk worthy in my own life.

Twenty-one years later, we still have a strong bond. Over the past seven years, she has helped me grow as a new parent, and has always welcomed her home to my son and I. In 2015, she nominated me for a Survivor’s Award from the Survivor Foundation. I was awarded the winner of the Foster Alumni and Educator Award. Once again, she impacted my life. Her simple affirmation helped me to actualize my purpose in life. I am an educator and advocate for foster youth.

(One more story, I promise!)

In January of this year, after a short battle, my biological father passed away from Kidney Cancer. I began a relationship with him at age 14, after I went into foster care. My dad didn’t gain custody, but we became a family, one day at a time. During my dad’s funeral, Crystal came up to me and hugged me. During my dad’s eulogy, I spoke about a gumball machine that my dad gave me for my birthday and how my dad visited my office every semester and dropped off gumballs. He was always being thoughtful. I spoke about how I recently visited the office and noticed that the machine was completely empty- which led me to tears. It also inspired me to ask everyone to honor my father by sharing a random act of kindness. When I returned to my office later that week, I found a package on my desk. I opened it and saw a box of gumballs from Crystal! She shared, “I hope these gumballs serve as a source of joy, rather than sadness.” Her act of kindness transformed a moment of ache into a memory of love. I am so incredibly thankful for Crystal and her role in my life. She made a heartfelt choice to support and guide me towards my dreams. She continues to be in my life and I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without her mentoring and care!

Thanks for letting me share my story of mentoring. I hope that others will be inspired to think about the gift of mentoring and how we can make positive change in each other’s lives.


Hope. Strength. Courage.

There was a time and place where I would have written, “Facing the unknown creates anxiety and fear.”

I find myself progressing and developing awareness of self, which allows me to experience life differently and more fully.

Today, I write, “Facing anxiety and fear moves you from the unknown to full knowledge of your potential to do the impossible.”

These two thinking constructs are true, but one is more healthier and demonstrates a growth mindset.

Everything prepares you for your life-defining moment, if you are willing to seize the day, when it arrives.


Earlier this year, I was struggling and afraid to reveal my personal struggles with depression and anxiety. I suffered daily, from daily panic attacks and my mind played tricks on me. It wasn’t easy to walk away from five years of beautiful wins and difficult losses, but when I made the decision to care about myself, my struggle transformed itself into vanishing points rather than places of terrifying convergence. There was something about letting go and beginning again that gave me permission to breathe again.

I didn’t spend the summer reinventing myself or starting over; I just needed to jump-start my passion and purpose. I spent considerable time reflecting and meditating about what I would need to do to live happy and whole. I re-centered my focus and energy on what mattered the most – I needed to prioritize how to better take care of myself and my son. I made myself a promise- I would dwell on the lessons learned, rather than the struggle. When I became conscientious of defining my space, I experienced a new beginning.

But this all seems poetic, rather than real, right?

I had a lot of questions and I asked myself (and God),

1) “Do I really want to move and start over?”
2) “Who will help me move?”
3) “Can I leave my family and friends”
4) “What about money, how will I pay for all these changes, especially rent in two places?”
5) “How will I manage my anxiety and pack at the same time?”
6) “Will my son be okay with changing schools again?”
7) “How will I pick the best community, school & after-school program ( & Babysitter)?”
8) “I have no sense of direction, how will I learn to drive in a new city?”
9) “What about scheduling a last minute physical and paying for an epi-pen for Carter?”

(and the list went on and on….)

Without knowing all the answers, I accepted a job offer to work with foster youth and took a leap!

Guess what?

In just one day, I found a place to live (3rd floor apartment, which helps me with my anxiety) and paid the deposit with money that came right on time.

I moved successfully & start my new job next Monday! I had a crew of folks in Cbus and Cinci. I would have never made it without everyone. (There are 36 steps up to the third floor of my new apartment and there must have been 100 trips up those stairs, by five generous people). Seriously, the awesomeness of people left me speechless. My heart is full of gratitude.

Guess what, you never really leave your friends and family, you just make new friends and family!

Two weeks ago, I had a balance of -$20.17 in my checking account and a week later, I had 2K! Everything has been provided through the generosity of others – Money, food, essentials, trash bags, boxes, containers, gas, school supplies, etc. I am incredibly thankful. My friends and family helped me with extra funds; I also got a loan from a friend, sold some paintings, and had two paying clients this summer!

I manage my anxiety, but sometimes I falter. I find that writing, praying and lemongrass oil help me cope.

With the advice & support of others, I realized that I was transferring my own fear and experiences of my childhood onto my son; I moved three times in first grade and wondered how my son would overcome change. It was communicated to me that I am offering my son the support that he needs to be successful; I was also told that I am not my mother!

I found a great school & after-school program, and have a college friend nearby for emergencies.

My phone helps, but my son is my GPS. He already knows how to get around!!! He told me this morning, “Mom you cannot use GPS to get to school. Don’t use your phone and I am not helping you either!” (That kid!)

I was able to get a physical appointment for the very next day (& pay for it). I was also able to get a free epi-pen for my son – they shipped it over-night for free, just in time for my son’s first day of school!


Honestly, I wanted to give up several times. I tried to convince myself that I was unworthy, unintelligible and pathetic. I walked myself into a corner and felt sorry for myself. I grieved my loss and I debated “what ifs” until my mind was a stinky pile of poo. And I couldn’t change the past, so I just had to reinvent my thinking process and meditate on what I know to be true. I might have failed throughout my life, but I never gave up. I never allowed circumstances to define me or people’s perceptions to dictate my purpose. I began to zoom in on my passion and decided that I wanted to support foster youth full time.

But guess what? I still I tried to walk away from a new job (my dream job), because I was afraid of change. This summer, one of my mentors told me that I had to “unpark my comfort,” and I realized that I had to be okay with being uncomfortable. Being vulnerable requires a step of faith, which expresses “hope, strength and courage” to grow and be challenged each and everyday, even when we don’t know how everything is going to be resolved.

I have had so many answers to prayer & needs met! I am stepping into my future because I am not alone. I am grateful for my faith and all my friends, family and supporters. I know I am loved and capable of fulfilling my passion and purpose. I am incredibly thankful to be a mother (and my role in my son’s life). I am excited to see what unfolds in the next Chapter, for us!

Trauma, Resiliency and Change

FYI…this is a long post.

(Written at 5 a.m. on 8/26/17)
I have been trying to get stuff together for a yard sale….. I am still up…. really wondering if I am gonna have to pull an all-nighter.

I honestly didn’t think this week could get any longer, but it just did. Out of all the things we accomplished- my son and I went through all his toys and I organized all his clothes. 

We watched the Diary of a Wimpy kid too many times (4x) and he finally fell asleep while I finished up the organizing. He definitely has more than he needs; maybe we have to work on seeking less stuff and finding more meaning in the emergence of new beginnings.

This week had me curious about our future and my heart has been pulled drastically towards patience-

I have always earned about a B/more like a C average. 

Just saying…

There are too many tasks to get accomplished at this point- but I guess I can say that I have been waiting on a job offer (it hasn’t come yet). I have also been debating change and what it would mean for my son and I. Everything from packing and sorting to putting all of our stuff into a moving truck and moving away.

This is the most scared I have felt since I was pregnant with my son. And the truth is that I know God has been with me every step of the way. Especially on the days when my anxiety sky-rocketed & I couldn’t leave my house. when my electric bill arrived,  it was always  too high because I was assaulted two years ago &  I cannot find it within myself to turn off all the lights. There is real fear in my bones and I have to pray for peace and protection each and evèry day.

There is too much ache in this world- sometimes I feel that my inconveniences seem like just a loose thread on a favorite sweater.  “I am not going to fall apart,” I tell myself. “I am not giving up,” I pray to God. And “I will try to be the mom I always needed,”  I promise myself. 

All these feelings have consumed my heart-and I just wanted to make it clear that filters may make pictures prettier, but when it comes to writing… I just keep it brutally honest. 

So, here I am.

And suddenly  I am reminded about my memoir deadline; this week it was extended again. Ugh!

Again, Life isn’t all seemingly perfect  instagram photos. And I guess that is why I finally decided to work out this past week and join a gym. And the beautiful part of this post is that I worked out and felt amazing.  And I wanted to go back day after day. Even the guy at the gym said, “Hey, you are back!” 

This week, in the grocery store,  I almost picked up a box of swiss miss cake rolls. Every month I eat a whole box in less than a day. Yep, I feed my feelings. But this week, I put the box down.

Why? I remembered the two-day training I attended two weeks ago on “trauma-informed care” and recalled my “a-ha” moment- which at first, it felt like my adolescence was being poltergeisted through my chest. I remembered the abuse and what I would think about when my abuser was violating me.


And then I would secretly go to the store before or after school and stuff my face with junk food… and swiss cake rolls.

Not kidding.

It all really happened 30 years ago and its still ripping my heart out of my chest? I just want to get over it!!! It happened so long ago. But that’s preicisely the myth of trauma. We have no control sometimes and the memories keep us stuck in the muck.

And so, what I thought was writer’s block, was really the process of unblocking. I also realized that I am in charge of creating new memories to reaffirm my pathway towards healing.

I couldn’t move forward with writing the next pages of  my memoir if I did not face my frequent binge-eating habits. 

And it happened- it all came to a point of convergence.  Tonight, I saw a professional portrait of myself  from last night’s Pecha Kucha. I thought how crappy it was that I spoke about resiliency and yet, the pain was still evident in my physical body. 

So that’s the beauty of the lesson…purchasing a gym membership and figuring out that my goal is to breathe and live more fully in the embrace of my purpose, which simply means to continue doing my best one step at a time, but making better choices along the way!


About Columbus Pecha Kucha #42: A Night Under the Stars:

It was an honor to share my story alongside the other speakers of the night at Gallery 934. Pecha Kucha, in Japanese, means chit-chat. I had the opportunity to share 6 minutes and 40 seconds of my life. Each image was shown for 20 seconds and I spoke about my journey of resiliency and advocacy for foster Being an advocate for foster youth is my passion and purpose- and I want to help open doors and create community for foster youth. We really do need each other. 

I want to encourage you to start a conversation that matters-

Give people encouragement and permission to share their stories. Together, We can create a safer community that supports survivors to move from hurt to healing.

Making My Mess, My Message

As I near a milestone birthday this month (the big 4-0!), I want to share some personal memories from my life journey…I am going to quickly review each decade and close out this blog with a reflection & lessons about my story progressing this year.
My Journey: 1977-2017
Decade 1:  1977-86
Memories: Little sister, only daughter, foster care child, abused, beaten, survivor, moved three times in first grade, speech impediment, dyslexia, held back in third grade, constant earaches, trouble-maker, talker, class-clown, budding artist, class council member and spelling bee finalist in 4th grade, started a food fight and read 501 books in the summer after 4th grade.
Decade 2: 1987- 1996
Memories: 5th grade crossing guard and kindergarten class volunteer, sexually abused, emotionally abused, loved art and volleyball, science fair winner, artist and creative spirit, loved riding my ten-speed pink and teal huffy bicycle, started my eating disorder, wanted to die, wanted to disappear, moved four times and changed schools three times, began to love school and writing, developed my artistic skills, went into foster care again, never went home, abandoned and rejected, became a Christian, found my strength in Him, blossomed into  a beautiful butterfly, honors student, almost quit art, still a class clown, selected by peers to be the yearbook editor-in-chief,  voted most likely to cheer you up for senior superlatives, graduated from High School  in the top 15% of my class, and was accepted to college!
Decade 3: 1997- 2006
Memories: Attended college, worked in the college cafeteria, learned to roller-blade, had my gallbladder removed, volunteered each summer in DC, brooklyn and San Francisco, visited Italy, completed my senior art show, served with AmeriCorps, rejected from grad school, went back to college,  my maternal grandmom passed, accepted to three graduate schools, moved to New York with $100, baptized, participated in a graduate assistant-ship, lost my virginity, dated with a hole in my heart, walked away from God, and graduated with my MA degree in Creative Arts Therapy, landed a job in NY and stayed.
Decade 4:  2007-2017
Memories: Made art, made a difference, lost and dying inside, wore a mask, lied to everyone about my struggles, raped,  pretended I was okay,  unplanned pregnancy, became a mom, moved home, wasn’t received as a prodigal daughter, homeless-lived with a friend, got fired from a sales job, cleaned houses, my paternal grandmother passed, landed a job at a college, found my passion & purpose, received a $60,000 grant to support foster youth, became an advocate, accepted into four art exhibits-two with my son, my brother, mother and father died, depression and anxiety, assaulted, survivor, trainer and speaker, motivator and mama bear, became an entrepreneur, and resigned from my job a month before turning 40.
Reflection and Lessons: My progression in 2017…
A little over two months ago, I had this amazing experience in March of 2107. I presented a Pecha Kucha at the National ACPA Convention in Columbus, Ohio. PechaKucha (Japanese: ペチャクチャ, IPA: [petɕa ku͍̥tɕa], chit-chat) is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total). The format, which keeps presentations concise and fast-paced, powers multiple-speaker events called PechaKucha Nights (PKNs).
My Pecha Kucha was called “Never Never Give Up: The Resiliency of Former Foster Youth” (visit the link to view the video).
I experienced something very empowering and had a “mountain top experience.” I  had the unique opportunity to live out my passion and purpose. The evening was extra special because I had two former supervisors present and two mentees present. I didn’t know then, that this precise moment would allow me to step into my future and fulfill a revolution (new chapter) in my life.
Just days ago, I returned from a conference in Henderson, Nevada. I attended a conference calledYour Real Success: Your Message, Your Brand, YOUR BOOK with Rhonda Sciortino! I have so much I want to say about this experience!!! We were a small but mighty group of women. I am so blessed because of this circle of visionaries and leaders. This retreat/conference truly impacted my message, brand and book. My purpose for going on this trip was to develop myself professionally, but I grew in confidence, self-awareness, purpose and wisdom.  A very special thanks to Diana Bowen-Moshier, Cheryl Alexander and Crystal Van Kempen-McClanahan! Thank you so much for sharing God’s love with me and your affirmations, gentle support, laughter and positive messages. I gained so much from being in your collective presence! I definitely feel called to help others step into their future!
Over the next 6 months, I will be writing My Soul-Inspired Story and Journal for Foster Youth and Survivors. During all three-days of the conference,  I gained traction to  fulfill my personal purpose; I was given tangible tools to implement practices to realistically reach my goals. I am ready!
At the last moment, I added two days to my trip and decided to visit the Grand Canyon. As I stood at the South Rim, my heart looked out over the canyon with a heart of gratitude. I saw the depths of the valleys and I was reminded about my journey in life… I survived and thrived throughout four decades of trauma, lessons, and blessings. As I stood on the mountain top, my eyes teared up.  I realized how the valley transformed my mess into my message and I will not be ashamed of my story! My life has a purpose and so does yours! Are you ready?
Join me! Learn how you can map your revolution and step into your future. Contact me at or Facebook.
In closing, I am truly thankful for all of my supporters. I wouldn’t be ready for the next chapter without you. I appreciate y’all!

Dig Deep & Call Attention to the Fear (And Let it Go)

I spent the month of April in deep reflection…not any ordinary reflection, but in meditation. During the past five years, I have experienced grief and sorrow without really processing or letting go in a healthy way.  This month,  I refused to break down or give up.  I  volunteered when I just wanted to stay in bed and hide. In my heart, soul and mind- I just knew I couldn’t give up. I am learning to be still. My circumstances lead me into a detour where I recognized (again) how important it is to listen (because even though I was tuning in, I was only doing so,  when it seemed convenient).

We all experience these life-defining moments, when things do not add up, where puzzle pieces do not fit (and were never meant to fit); these inconspicuous configurations result in being redirected. The only way to push through, is to believe in your purpose (and imagine what you can achieve while holding steadfast, onto your faith).

I have always said that life is a series of detours, which lead (or force) you towards the next opportunity. I have learned to seize the moment and accept detours as a lesson to experience life reflectively (& fully).

In the beginning, detours feel like a diversion tactic that will only lead to a dead end.  They feel extremely uncomfortable and stir up self-doubt, anxiety, pain, etc.  In those first few steps, people will try to convince you that struggles are actually blessings in disguise. Meanwhile, you just want to give a skeptical side glance (but if you stop and reevaluate, you can practice patience and your purpose).

So…here’s my advice (and encouragement), if you are facing adversity and struggling with a detour on your journey:

  1. Prayer/Meditation is a vehicle that you need to practice intentionally. Speak and say what is on your heart, but also, listen and be still before God.
  2. Open your heart and invite wisdom to speak into your life; erase that circle that you drew around yourself to keep people out. It’s not going to help you to push through. To get to the other side, we need to trust others.
  3. We are not facing adversity to “learn some big lesson.” The lessons are within you already-between fear and progress; dig deep & call attention to the fear and let it go. The lesson will be cultivated and grow within you, stronger than ever.
  4. Do not sulk or feel sorry for yourself. Yes, there are a lot of naysayers out there, but those naysayers don’t know that much about you!
  5. Be helpful. Put your hands to work in a positive way and believe that your life will continue to have a purpose.
  6. Finally, do not edit your story. Do not diminish God’s work, within your life because it’s not very pretty. God’s grace is most evident in those moments!!!

So what do you think? What lessons are you learning in your journey?

Please give feedback or contact me at or twitter @kimberlycolleen Thanks for reading!

Transformation and stepping into the future…

Over the course of my life, I have been stepping into my future. Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt the impact of a few courageous steps and I am not the same woman I was, when March started. As the month wraps up,  I am being pushed into another opportunity for growth. In the past, I might have called it a challenge, but after this week, I am being reflective and looking at life as an opportunity to grow and sustain my purpose.

I look inward and have faith that transformation will continue to shape my goals and aspirations. My desire to mentor, coach, advocate and educate is embedded in my own history; I have had so many people influence my life, that it is my hope that I can pay it forward and help others step into their future; this is what I describe as, “living a soul-inspired revolution.”

Three weeks ago, I was invited to speak to a small group of college students about stepping into their future, beyond graduation. I was invited by one of my college mentors-she was my first job supervisor. She embodies love and compassion; she learned my story and became more than a supervisor. She actually taught me how to drive, with her two-year old in the back seat of the car! She has become a life-long mentor; twenty years later, she still demonstrates love and compassion through her words and actions.

As I prepared for the college-age workshop, I collected my thoughts and developed some talking points about “Adulting 101.” During the workshop,  I shared some significant lessons that I’ve learned throughout my life post-college. I have given many workshops throughout my life, but this one just resonated with me so deeply, I felt closely connected to my life mission. Through the process of storytelling, I seek to empower others in developing their passion, purpose &  plans to step into the future.

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This past week, I was given the opportunity to share my own story on the stage at #ACPA17! the lights almost beamed me (the lights were so bright!) into an alternative universe! I was grounded in hope and the promise that my story can make a difference. I’ve learned from my past and I discovered that my mess can become my message. I shared my story through PechaKucha 20 x 20; it is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and I talked along to the images. Essentially, it’s a short speech that equates to six minutes and forty seconds of storytelling. I shared my personal journey as a former foster youth and how my life-purpose intertwined with supporting former foster youth, as a part of my career. I never imagined in a million years, that I would be coordinating a program that develops former foster youth into leaders.  I am beyond thankful.

Beyond the immediate experience of sharing my PechaKucha, I felt like a became a part of very special community of PK presenters! I believe all of our stories connected with the human experience, and I personally left very changed by the lessons shared by everyone!

The change process of transformation has been strengthening my heart. During March, I have acquired a deeper understanding of my purpose; I am seeking to achieve my greatest potential; I want to cultivate revolutions in those around me that are soul-inspired!

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ACPA17: Work-Life Balance, Resiliency & Hospitality!


The national convention for ACPA17 is right around the corner! I’ve experienced so much positive energy from being a member of this diverse community! The annual convention experience refuels my purpose and transforms my work in Higher Education. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to Connect, Experience, Reflect, Invest, and Transform!

This month, I have a new opportunity to present with Renée Hill, Dean of Student Life, and Denise Harris, Vice Provost for Student Engagement at Hilbert College, Buffalo, N.Y.. We will present an educational session at the upcoming American College Personnel Association (ACPA) conference, titled “Work-Life Balance: Interwoven Life Tapestries of Motherhood, Management and Mentorship.” The session is sponsored by the Coalition for Women’s Identities and the Commission for Administrative Leadership. This is my first educational session at a national conference and it’s an honor to present with my current and former supervisors; both of these women shaped my career in Higher Education; they are also role models and examples of women who are exemplary in leadership. I am thankful for their roles in developing my strengths and their support to help me grow as a manager, mentor and mother.

During ACPA, I  will also give a PechaKucha called “Never, Never Give Up: The Resiliency of Former Foster Youth.” I will be speaking about my experiences as a former foster youth and the development of the Columbus State Scholar Network. My session will be given in an innovative presentation format in which presenters show 20 images for 20 seconds each, covering a wide range of topics, ideas, perspectives and thoughts. I have been working on my session for over a month; it’s going to be difficult to speak about my life and passion in only six minutes and forty seconds! I am incredibly excited to have this platform to share about my growth and how we can all support former foster youth in college.

Finally, it has been a great learning opportunity to serve as the hospitality coordinator on the ACPA17 convention experiences team. I have been overseeing the development of the Welcome Kiosk, Lactation and Family Space, Service-on-the-Go projects, and the affirmation and reflection boards. I am thankful to be a member of the planning team, they have been nothing but supportive; together, we have brainstormed ideas to shape a great convention experience for 2017! Being a part of the planning team has helped me to refocus my attention on the heart of hospitality and enhance my practice with my students to consider their needs and to focus on tangible ways to support them as they face challenges in their lives.

You can read my complete online blog post, “What’s Your Happy Place?”(about the conference) here.


NEXUS: Mother & Child

A very special Family Art Exhibit features a young child’s (six years old) artwork next to his mother’s paintings and drawings!

During February 2017, a Family Art Exhibit by the Rhyan Family was featured at Groveport City Hall, in Groveport, Ohio. The exhibit goes on the road in March and will move to Columbus State Community College during Women’s Herstory Month. The exhibit will be in the gallery, located in Christopher Hall (the Columbus State Library). Please visit:

Kimberly Rhyan earned her B.A. in Fine Art from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She also earned her M.A. in Creative Arts Therapy from Hofstra University. The art process has always been a part of her family tapestry. As a child, Kimberly observed her own mother create art and also had art teachers who served as mentors in Elementary and middle schools.

Her son has always had access to art supplies; they have an art studio in their home. Carter has had a brush in his hands ever since he was 18 months old! Last summer,  Carter found a box of popsicle sticks and asked if he could glue them to his canvases (because he refuses to paint on paper because his mom only paints on canvas). After completing his own popsicle painting series, he asked if he could glue his popsicle sticks to his mother’s painting. That’s when the exhibit merged together as one.


Carter tells everyone that his sticks are a transformer but his mom believes they look like a “home,” symbolic of their nexus.

Kimberly is inspired by her son and his creativity. Their exhibit is a chance to see Carter’s evolution as an artist next to his mother’s work; whenever she paints, he creates paintings and when she draws, he makes drawings. They each have their own style but they truly have formed a special nexus, a bond tied together through art!  They hope you will go home after the exhibit and make art with your family!

Artist Statement and Challenge:

Creating art is a family activity that fills our home with love. We focus on play and having fun; creativity shapes us to be innovators. Sometimes, our artwork connects and that’s probably our favorite experience.

I am thankful to celebrate creativity with my son through art-making; it’s a path to growth and understanding. I’ve also learned that art-making with a child is messy, but it is also filled with beautiful awakenings.

I encourage families to explore creativity together. Spend one or two hours a week creating something new. It’s a fun way to build a nexus. You become more connected and that’s the essence of family!

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