Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Must Have Indulgence
Endangered Species Dark Chocolate
with Hazelnuts and Toffee
What I Enjoy Most
spending time with friends and family
When I Have an Evening at Home
I cook a meal from scratch
Well Fed Weeknights by Mel Joulwan
Best Movie Ever
Legends of the Fall
One Place I Will Visit
Prague, Czech Republic
One Thing I am New To
Jill’s Degrees and Certifications:
B.A. Psychology, UW - Eau Claire
B.A. Public Communications, UW - Eau Claire
Masters of Divinity, Bethel Seminary - St. Paul
Certified Fearless Living Coach, Fearless Living Institute
Click a photo to read the story behind why the item holds a special place in Jill’s heart.
Many people can begin their story with, “If you had told me a year ago or five years ago or ten years ago…” and fill in the blank with who they are now and why that is amazing. I am no exception! My story begins with if you had told me ten years ago that I would look forward to sitting in freezing hockey rinks, that I would not be eating cheese, that I would love myself, and that I would leave family gatherings feeling sane, I would have told you YOU WERE CRAZY!!!
How did I end up looking forward to sitting in freezing hockey rinks? Almost 14 years ago I took a job that was to be my financial support as I pursued my life coaching certification. I became a nanny to an adorable baby boy who grew and added an equally adorable little brother and together they conspired to steal my heart. The day the older one went to kindergarten, I knew I was not leaving. He cried every day for three weeks getting on the bus and every day for three weeks, I fought the tears until I could turn away from the bus and let them flow. That September, I knew we were forever family in spite of the non-traditional way we became family. The boys are now teen and tween and I am still their nanny. Together with their parents, we have created a happy family system that works for us. Most weekends from November through March, you will find me cheering the boys on as they play hockey and I couldn’t be more content even with the chill that never leaves me until April!
No cheese?! I know! I couldn’t believe it either, but that happened and continues to happen most days. After many years of battling with all kinds of health challenges, I gave up gluten (bread and pasta) and soon cheese and dairy joined the list. Most people cringe when they find out I eat a Paleo diet 90% of the time until they learn how much more energy I have and how much better I feel. I am not recommending everyone eat Paleo, however, I have learned so much about the power of listening to my body and my intuition through this part of my journey. That leads me to the final two things about me I would have never believed had you told me they would be true ten years ago.
What does loving myself and leaving family gatherings feeling sane have to do with each other? EVERYTHING! Most days, I really like me. In fact, I love me. I have developed a genuine appreciation for who I am, my giftedness, and I have learned my shortcomings are opportunities for learning and growth. As my love for myself developed, so did my empathy and compassion for my family. Embracing my own beautiful complexity opened the door for me to embrace the beautiful complexity of the people who make up my immediate family.
This seemed like an impossible task because I grew up in a home that revolved around my father and his emotional needs. I experienced how a lack of balance leads to abusive, manipulative, and controlling behavior as far back as I can remember. For most of those years, I cycled through fighting back, defeat, and believing this is what I deserved. That cycle continued well into my adulthood until I began my journey of healing through therapy. Through the patience and expertise of talented therapists, I was able to pull apart and investigate my story and learn how my story was interwoven with my parents’ stories as well as their parents’ stories. I was fascinated by the evidence that supported the idea choices my grandparents made before I was born had a profound effect upon my life. Through two serious dating relationships, I began to see while I understood my story and was on a path of healing, my relational behavior patterns were not changing and were damaging my relationships with the men I dated as well as with my friends and co-workers.
When I met Rhonda Britten, founder of the Fearless Living Institute, I discovered how to take the healing work I had done with my amazing therapists and choose to live my life differently. Rhonda introduced me to one of her Fearless Living coaches and I decided to give it a try. I was skeptical because I felt I lived my life pretty fearlessly already. After one session, that amazing coach supported me in realizing almost all my choices in life were based on fear—fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of weakness, fear of being alone, fear of never measuring up. As I continued to work with her, my behavior patterns began to change. I became less defensive, more empathetic, less judgmental, and more loving in all my relationships, including my relationship with myself.
I also began to embrace my parents and brother as they were without expecting them to change. I accepted that their journey was just that, their journey. I don’t have the power to choose another person’s journey for them. We each must choose our unique path. And, because we are all beautifully complex, our journeys are so very different from one another, including when and how we choose healing.
My journey still continues. My relationship with myself, God/Universe/Love, others, and the world around me are still changing and growing. Each day is a journey closer to freedom and being the woman I was born to be. I believe life was meant to be lived with joy, a sense of adventure, and fullness of relationship in all my gorgeous complexity. I can’t wait to see what is around the next curve in the road.