MomsGetReal Alumni include:
Mary Swan-Bell is a mom of three children (18, 11, and 5) a freelance writer and media buyer. Married for nearly 20 years to her high school sweetheart, Mary writes to find some semblance of sanity in the midst of her often chaotic world. While she does write web copy, press releases, and blogs for a communications firm, she chooses in her spare time to write about relationships, parenting, and spirituality. Her education reflects her tendency toward multiple personalities, as she has a BA in Professional Writing and Editing/journalism, and half of a master’s degree in community counseling. Despite more than 18 years as a mother, she still feels she has much to learn and is honored to be part of the Mama Posse.
Katie Bugbee is the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert of Care.com. A busy working mother of two, she’s an expert on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect babysitter.
Tonia Caselman, PhD, LCSW
Tonia is an associate professor with the University of Oklahoma’s School of Social Work. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she maintains a private practice focusing on the the mental health needs of children and families. She has authored numerous books, including Empathy: The Social Emotion, Impulse Control, Boundaries, and Empowering Children of Incarcerated Parents. She has also developed numerous therapeutic games and is a frequent speaker. She is co-founder of Castlewell Therapeutic Play, a website that offers inexpensive, downloadable, therapeutic games for therapists and parents to use with children.
Sara Haley was raised in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska, and has settled into the same town in which she grew up. During her marriage, she was a stay-at-home mom, freelancing to help supplement the household income. Now, she is a single mom who has been able to freelance her way to paying the bills, while still keeping and maintaining her full-time job as a stay-at-home mother to her three-year-old daughter, April.
The transition from marriage to single-dom has been a challenge, but through it, Sara has kept her sights on raising her daughter to be a happy, well-rounded child. Being a single mom is a completely different lifestyle change for her, but has given her the strength and independence to remember the importance of what she does best–being a mom. Though she lives paycheck to paycheck, she is able to work from home and watch her daughter grow and learn at the same time!
Belinda Hulin is married to Jim Crissman and is Mom to their two children, Dylan, 23, and Sophie, 11, plus Molly the elderly Sheltie and Spenser the supposed-to-be Beagle (who grew to be 73 pounds), both adopted from rescues. The family cats—Belle, Buzz and Woody—had the good fortune to be caged together at the pound. When Belinda and Jim went to adopt a (as in one) kitten for Sophie, the then-five-year-old spotted the group and said, “Look, it’s a family!” Everybody knows you can’t break up a family, so the three former strays got a comfy home. Aside from family duties, Belinda is a five-time cookbook author as well as a veteran magazine, newspaper and web writer. Her memoir cookbook, Roux Memories: A Cajun-Creole Love Story with Recipes, was published in September 2010 by Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe-Pequot. The book chronicles a South Louisiana family through recipes, vintage photos and essays. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and the near-loss of family recipes and mementos, prompted Hulin to document the family taste-print for future generations. She is now passionate in urging others to write their own food history and hopes her next book, The Keepsake Cookbook: Gathering Delicious Memories One Recipe at a Time, due in July 2011 from Lyons Press, will help them do just that.
When she isn’t writing or cooking, Belinda is a Mary Kay consultant—in part to support her own cosmetics habit and partly because it isn’t writing or cooking! A Louisiana native, Belinda now lives with her family in Atlantic Beach, Florida.
Veronica Monique Ibarra
Veronica Monique Ibarra is a married mother of two living in North Carolina. She earned her BA in Psychology with a minor in English at Peace College, NC. Following graduation she went to work at an outdoor therapeutic program where she spent 10 years working with troubled teens as a counselor, teacher and tutor before becoming a work-from-home Mom (emphasis on the work).
She is now a freelance SEO Writer, and also works in partnership with her husband on his web design business providing content generation. When she isn’t writing for the web, she is working on creative writing projects that she hopes will someday culminate in a novel (or more). She maintains two websites: http://www.veronicamonique.com/, which features her real life and professional SEO Writing and http://www.bloodandcandlelight.com/, which features her darker themed creative writings. Writing is her passion.
Wife and mother of 4, Jana hails from Boise, ID where she lives, works and plays. By day, she develops beautiful and useful websites for clients at an international advertising agency and consults on social media strategy and program development. By night, she partakes in her creative passions, raises 4 children between the ages of 6 and 18, and shares her hopes and dreams with her husband, Bryant. With an Aspy son and a brother with Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy, Jana has intimate experience with the ups, downs and challenges faced by parents and caretakers of those with special needs. Jana and her husband both have ex-spouses and children from those relationships as well, so she also understands the unique challenges faced by blended families. Jana enjoys sharing her experiences, tips, and stories on a wide range of topics including, divorce, marriage, blended families, special needs, parenting in the digital age, social media safety and so much more.
Amy Kelly is the CEO of Parent eSource, the global resource, community, and social media trending firm she founded in 2010 to transform the communication between parents and their children. Parent eSource has achieved stunning results by helping countless parents better understand the changing world their teens live in and providing innovative resources to help parents connect with their connected teens. Amy has established her revolutionary perspective, resources and technology and is a sought after expert in sharing her insight and parental connection advice.
Wanda Morrissey was born and raised in rural Nova Scotia. At the age of 20, after two failed attempts to get a college education, she moved across the country and landed in Calgary, Alberta, living and working in Alberta for two years. For the last 12 years, Wanda has lived in Newmarket, Ontario, where she met her husband of 6 years. Because Wanda wanted to be home with her son, Jeffrey, who was born 14 weeks premature, she gave up her full time job and works part-time in the evenings. She loves to do creative things and often has multiple projects going. Her favorite interests are baking, cross stitch, scrap booking, and of course, writing. Wanda has dreamed of being a writer and of furthering her education, so she took an online course in freelance writing.
Brenda is a working mother, soon to have her bachelors degree is business management with an emphasis in accounting. In 2008 she obtained a certification in Human Resource Management and was recently inducted into the Delta Mu Delta International Honors Society in Business Administration. She has also been a member of the American Institute of CPA’s and the Idaho Society of CPA’s since 2009. She currently works as an accountant specializing in non-profit accounting and bookkeeping and enjoys every minute of it. She’s helping people, help people and thinks of it as the most rewarding career path yet.
When Brenda doesn’t have her nose buried in a text book or piles of paperwork on her desk, she spends her time homeschooling her youngest daughter who is 7 and continuing to build a relationship with her step-daughter who is ten. Brenda has a blended family and has been married to a magnificent man for 5 years. Her passion is to help people recognize their ability to succeed in life and pursue their dreams and she does this by taking an active interest in the community and empowering women. She believes that everyone has a voice and anyone can fulfill their dreams as long as they have support and encouragement.
Though young in age, her life has been nothing but easy. Through life’s lessons, determination for success and wonderful support from her family, she has overcome many obstacles and is leading a new generation through an evolving world. Brenda’s passion for maintaining a work-life balance and her determination is contagious to those around her and she believes her lessons from life and challenges she’s overcome will help many other women cope with the increasing demands they face as employees, wives and mothers. She recognizes that it’s not an easy path she’s chosen but it’s always rewarding.
Elizabeth Sanchez is a mother of three: two by birth, one by awesomeness, who lives, works and plays in Chicagoland. A displaced Michiganian, she earned her BA in Journalism and Michigan State University, with a concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. After internships at the Lansing State Journal and the Detroit Pistions and Detroit Shock, Sanchez wandered into the Windy City and works in public relations at a sports organization.
Growing up as a first generation Mexican-American, living has always been something of a contradiction in terms and the contradiction continues with the next generation: a stepson, a middle son and a baby girl. A lover of soccer, languages and travel, she drags her kids and husband along for the ride.
Danica Sorber is a freelance copywriter that spends all day attempting to write while taking care of her 3 children (ages 5 ½, 2, and 1). Danica is originally from California, but now lives in PA with her husband and their brood. Danica has a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Counseling, and Associates in Biblical studies, but her passion has always been writing. She loves writing about being a mom, a wife, a writer, and a Christian and how all of those things can be blessings even during challenging experiences. Her blog, Pulse of the Purple Notepad, is dedicated to freelancers (especially stay at home moms) who want a place to go to get quality advice on freelancing, balancing life and work, and having a healthy spiritual life. Danica is also proud to be in the process of publishing her first book, How I Held the Seasons in My Hands.
Amalia Starr is a motivational speaker, independent living coach, educator, advocate, and mother of an adult son with autism. She developed a step-by-step life changing program for children with autism and special needs to reach maximum independence. In her newly released book, Raising Brandon: A Path to Independence for Your Adult “Kid” with Autism & Special Needs, Starr writes how she helped her autistic, adult son, Brandon achieve independence when the professionals deemed it impossible. Brandon has been living on his own for more than thirteen years, enjoying his independence. There is HOPE! For more information on how to help your child with special needs reach his or her full potential please visit: http://www.AmaliaStarrSpeakerAutism.com
Lisa Van De Graaff
Lisa is a mother, wife, daughter, student, and licensed massage therapist. She has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and thirteen years of experience in corporate accounting and project management in addition to certifications in several bodywork modalities (Swedish, LaStone, Manual Lymph Drainage, Breast Massage, and Zen Shiatsu (in process)).
Travel, photography, home improvements, and food are Lisa’s passions, and she considers herself immeasurably blessed to be sharing life’s journey with her daughter and life partner. While the commitments to motherhood have momentarily taken her attention away from international travel, Lisa and her travel companion plan to resume annual travels to Europe (for the art and food) and Africa (for safari) in the next few years. Domestic travel usually involves cities with good shopping and flavorful dining.
Keeping journals has been a lifelong outlet for expression of creativity and emotion for Lisa. Lisa plans to use these journals as an outline for periodic posts to MomsGetReal™ in hopes of sparking creativity and joy in others.
Corporate public relations director by day, Chris started freelancing in 2005 when she had the idea that she could help entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes take their rambled sentences, notes scratched out on cocktail napkins and half-baked thoughts and ideas and transform them into a message that would give them – and their customers, fans and followers – goosebumps every time it’s read. Conveying the voice, intent and passion precisely of others is her water. Learning to use her own voice to as she follows her own path is her oxygen.
If Chris could have your attention for 15 seconds, she’d want you to hear this and take it to heart: “The words echoing in your head, heart, and soul are there to remind you that you are sentient, cognizant and have something worth sharing, repeating and living. And there’s a singular obsession that we all have to make them known: call it passion, destiny, fate or life’s purpose – it doesn’t matter. It’s what makes your heart race, brain speed up, and time slow down. It makes you laugh, guides the soundtrack in your head, and pushes you every day to say “what IS that?” It creates love, heartbreak, and strength, exposes our weaknesses, shows the best and worst of our ego to the world, and ultimately sculpts this malleable thing that we call life into something.
You have value & purpose – even if you’re not entirely assured; you don’t know when you will say, write, paint or create the ONE THING that will resonate so deeply within another’s soul that you will, in turn, stir their passion to the surface. And when someone says, writes, paints or creates something that resonates with you – share it – and turn up its volume as loud as you can go.”
Kathy is a wife, mother of two boys, and works full-time doing marketing for a regional medical group. Having lived across the United States (Los Angeles, Chicago, Louisville, and Tennessee), she and the boys have settled into a nice routine out West. In her free time (really? who has that?) she enjoys running, competitive baking (yes, it’s a real sport), and watching the world pass by from her front porch. Kathy also enjoys travelling – both road trips and international quests – and is currently dreaming of her next trip across the pond.
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