AF: How long have you been a writer?

Ten years ago at a symphony with my husband, the idea to write a book about the power of a smile to enable us to live our best life hit me over the head like a 2 x 4, and from that moment on I have been an insatiable writer, reader, researcher of story, and a connoisseur of any book store or library my travels will take me to.

AF: What inspired you to write this book?

I think the idea, the need to write about the power of a smile rose out of my desire as a mother to raise my two boys and adopted nieces to live their best possible life filled with passion, possibilities, and the thrill of chasing their dreams. Growing up I endured a lot of heartache with the sudden loss of a brother, a sister, a brother-in-law, my mother, then my father and all at different times. As a result, I have asked a lot of hard questions and watched closely to who and how people that are really happy choose to live. Dream Big has a lot of layers that hopefully answer some of life’s hard questions and even show that the power of smiling big in who we are can truly be our U-shaped bridge to anywhere. A smile can connect us to a believe in ourselves, our dreams, and the strength and guidance found in connecting with “something bigger.” For me the “something bigger” is Christ; for the animals in Dream Big, it is their wished-upon star.

Dream Big also attempts to give emotional insights into the different ways I’ve watched people may react to naysayers and hardship. Do we cocoon like Caterpillar and just close off to the possibilities of life? Do we swim around in a pool of negative thoughts like Tadpole? Do we physically take on our pain and effect our health and looks like Flamingo? Do we cover our faces in shame like Baboon? Or do we just hide out alone and afraid like Termite?

Hopefully, the spiritual as well as the emotional can be a platform for families and classrooms to really dig in to what it means to live our best life and start at a young age.

AF: How long have you lived in Austin?

I went to the University of Texas from 1985-1989. Then moved back in 1997 when I got married, and I have lived in this incredible town ever since!

AF: Tell us about your family.

I have a wonderful family that spans generations. My husband keeps me laughing with his keen wit. We have two boys. Our oldest son (18) followed his passion for fly fishing with complete focus and made the United States Youth Fly Fishing Team. He even had the thrill of being a guest on a couple of fly fishing TV shows. Our second born (16) is an incredible athlete playing varsity football for Westlake and teaches us all daily what dedication and great a work ethic looks like. We adopted my sister’s beautiful and dynamic girls, and they have both married incredible men. The oldest (33) is married, and they have two precious girls. The youngest (30) is married, and luckily they live in this awesome town we call Austin, too!

AF: What do you like most about Austin?

I love the incredible outdoors that the town celebrates with Town Lake, Lake Austin, the Greenbelt, as well as the variety of art you can find on 6th Street for music, galleries, Laguna Gloria and of course my favorite book store of all: Book People.

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