Ode to Gammy

“Ode to Gammy”

Grandmothers are very special people. Not only are they important by the virtue of the bloodline, but they are tasked with teaching grandchildren important life lessons. Today I’m going to share with you the lessons my grandmother, Gam, shared with me in hopes that they can serve you in life as well.

Following your heart and pursuing your passions

Gam grew up on a farm in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada with 10 brothers and sisters. She was in the middle. At age 16, she and her sister flew the coop to warmer climates and opportunity in Los Angeles. She left with $5 in her pocket.

Imagine: 16 years old, red hair, full of life and adventure and seeing the world. Not the concrete world we’re used to. A world full of possibilities, orange groves and merchants. That’s where she met my grandfather. He whisked her quickly away to Hawaii and they began their lives together.

Even though I wasn’t there to witness it – her sense of adventure and willingness to try something new, her actions of boldly following her heart and pursuing a life of passion is one of the greatest gifts she shared with me. She dared following her heart.


Anything is possible.

Imagine again: a red head, full of life and a thirst for adventure. What she expressed to the Universe came back to her. She had married to George Magoon (my grandfather) whose family purchased a white sand beach called Maihaiula just north of the Kona Airport on the Big Island for $1,000. Together, Gam and my grandfather would take their children there and give them a unique experience.

Do you think that at 16, raised on a farm in Winnipeg she ever could have imagined raising her children in paradise? Yet it happened. Because anything is possible. She taught me to keep an open and positive perspective toward everything.


Life is an adventure

I grew up on the mainland in Eugene, OR. Yet every summer, my mom would take us back to Hawaii to visit with my grandmother. We would travel to Maihaiula for a month at a time. Without electricity or television, we had to entertain ourselves as best we could. Luckily Gam taught me how to fish.

Maihaiula is a half moon bay. On the south side, are some lava rocks that overhang the ocean. I remember holding my grandmother’s hand as she showed me how to navigate through the deep sand, through the coconut groves with falling fronds, avoiding the kiawe thorns, how to walk on aa and puu lava as well as avoid menehunes.

Armed with a bamboo pole, straw hat, butter knife to pick off creatures for bait and a bucket, my grandmother showed me the best fishing hole. I’d plop my line into the water and within seconds bring up tropical fish. She taught me which fish were good to eat and which ones were too boney and how to unhook them and release them back.

Eventually I got bold enough to fish on my own. My grandmother had taught me how to navigate and deal with obstacles and how to fish. And in her gentle way, I understood what she taught me would serve as metaphor with how to deal with life. It should always be treated as an adventure.


Tackling whatever life may throw at you.

Eventually I graduated from my bamboo pole to a fishing rod. I started casting right in front of the house and quickly learned there are good and not so good places to fish. My line snagged, but I could feel a wiggle.

After 20 minutes, Gam came to check on me. She tried untangling the line as well but whatever I had caught was stubborn. Eventually, slowly, I brought in an electric eel and shrieked in horror. Gam didn’t bat an eye. Instead she grabbed the nearest rock and started bashing the head of the eel. “Your Auntie Denny (bash) LOVES (bash) eel. (BASH BASH BASH) She’ll eat it!”

That is one of my fondest memories of Gam. She taught me that no matter what life throws at you or you snag on your fishing rod, you can bash it with a rock and feed it to your auntie.


I am so thankful for my grandmother, Gam. She taught me to following my heart and pursuing my passions, anything is possible, life is an adventure and that I can tackle whatever life may throw at me.


Last week, Gam passed away at 97 years old. She lived an amazing life and was loved by all who knew her. And though her physical presence passed, her legacy continues on in me, in my siblings, cousins, mom, aunt and uncle and everyone else who had the good fortune of meeting her.

So when you find you have an opportunity to share a life lesson with someone, consider the impact you may have on that young persons life. Pass your legacy on. And remember, grandmothers are very special people. And Gam was no exception.


A Lesson in Living the Life of Your Dreams.

Think about your dreams. Those big dreams that you often keep to yourself. The one that you’re almost afraid to admit it’s so big and huge and seems so far away. Got it? Good.

Now, what if you told someone about that dream? And not just anyone. Instead you told the biggest and most powerful being that you knew. This being is so powerful and big that they can help you accomplish your dreams. Just by the mere mention of your dream, things start in motion. Your dreams start to come true. It’s slow at first, in little baby steps. And then suddenly you realize the dream that you had is become reality.

Now that you’ve accomplished that dream, you’re ready to dream bigger. You’re ready to put a bigger dream – something that seems light years away. This time though you tell that big powerful being right away and those baby steps start to become lunges. You’ve created momentum with what you want to manifest and it comes back to you quicker than you thought.

So you put out an even BIGGER dream! One that fulfills your heart desire. One that aligns with your life purpose. One that is so close to your heart and soul. It feels vulnerable to put it out there but you’ve built trust around letting that being first hear your dream and then help you achieve it.

Yes, you have that ability now. Yes, you can live the life of your dreams. You deserve it. And you get to set the standard of how the Universe will treat you. You’ve got to love and treat yourself by the standard that you want the Universe to treat you. Don’t settle. Don’t lower your standard. Stand up for what you want! Dare to dream! Dare to let the Universe know that you’re ready for it to show you its amazing capacity to love you right back.

I have had big dreams. Big ENORMOUS dreams. Moving to Colorado was a dream. Living in a sunny location, racing my bike, working in my own business and with clients who need me, living life to the fullest, falling in love again. All risky endeavors, and all dreams. My list is long and I am forever grateful for all of the wonderful dreams that have come true. And yes, I’m dreaming even bigger now. And yes, they’re coming true!

You can have it all. Dare to dream.

A Break.

I suppose I needed the break, though at the time it didn’t feel like I needed one.  I suppose it was a break from writing, to refocus and figure out my next steps. To live my life and really appreciate things. To experience and gain more wisdom, to follow my heart and do things that I wanted to do.

I do think there’s something to be said about having goals. Of making them a reality and letting the work toward them get you into some sort of routine. And I’ve been feeling the need to revisit a deadline for this book.

When Ryan died, the worst thing that could happen became my reality. I went into shock immediately, floating as though it were a dream. But he didn’t come home. He didn’t suddenly appear out of the blue, unless it was in my dreams. He didn’t call. He died. Everything about his physical sense vanished. And I was left hollow, a mere fraction of the person I was before.

Suddenly very simple tasks become monumental. Listening to music for the first time, going places we used to go together for the first time – my life was forever altered. And that took a lot of getting used to.

Some how I knew early on in the grieving process that I would make the most of it. Doing so was in my nature. I couldn’t just wallow in my own self pity, letting sadness and sorrow rule my existence. No, I had the choice to look at it differently. I immediately adopted the “to know love is better than not at all” attitude and decided to take steps toward healing. Thankfully I had good friends to help me through. We spent week nights together, yet I would always return to the house and cry myself to sleep. It was nice to have diversions – to go out and eat well. But I would come home, reminded again of my loss and break down.

I knew getting regular exercise would get me through. And thankfully I had a training program to follow. And although it wasn’t the best and most focused work (in retrospect, how could it be?), I still went through the motions. I still showed up every day ready to get my heart pounding to feel alive, to feel normal, to escape the loss if only for a few hours.

Except I was still coming back home, home to the ghosts. Home to the reminders. Home to the empty house and ashes sitting on the mantel. Ryan’s absence encompassed me. No matter what I tried, it was always there. That dull ache of missing someone so badly you lose it. A song comes on the radio, a smell, a taste, a feeling and suddenly you’re a puddle of emotions and tears. Hoping no one will see you this weak, that broken. Because I knew, deep down I needed to feel this way. And as awful as it felt at the time, I needed to trudge through it. I needed to feel it, to get to the very bottom in order to heal. To form a base of sadness, of grief so that one day I could feel happiness and love again.

I would never wish this kind of sadness upon anyone. But I do wish upon everyone a wakening up. An enlightenment of sorts. A realization that despite life’s ups and downs, you can and will come out on the other side stronger and a better person. That you can choose to be this way and when you do, when you take happiness and empowerment into your own hands, the world opens up to you. You see things in a new light. You understand that doing what you want to do and striving toward that is so important.

Sure, I still get sad. There are nights when I cry myself to sleep. They are getting further and further between bouts, but they still happen. And I let them. I cry deeply, and sob to the point of where my sweet dogs check on me to make sure I’m okay. And once I’ve cried enough to water the lawn, I breath in deeply and know that Ryan’s there. He’ll always be there.

Finding Clarity

There once was a girl who loved to pretend she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. She liked trying on other people’s professions and couldn’t quite put her finger on one that resonated with her. She noticed how pleased people were when she tried their professions on for size. But it lead her into trap – a trap of pleasing other people. She couldn’t figure out for the longest time why she wasn’t able to find something that made her heart sing.

And that’s when she discovered she was listening to other people’s hearts long before her own. She had been entranced by their singing hearts. She went on a journey to try and find somewhere she could listen to her own beating heart. Alone and high up in the mountains, out in the deep blue ocean, along the wide open plains. She practiced getting in touch with who she really was and what her heart had to say.

She kept searching and searching for something that filled her up. Something that aligned with her unique gifts and talents. Something that felt like a natural part of her. She became more aware and appreciative of who she was. But the more she desperately tried searching for Clarity, the harder the path felt.

Then one day, Clarity just showed up. The girl hadn’t gone anywhere special. She wasn’t in the mountains, out at sea or in a meadow. She was around a couple of people in a coffee shop. It was there she realized that when she had finally given up and trusted that if Clarity was going to show up she will.  And she did!

Clarity wasn’t how the girl pictured or imagined her – in fact, Clarity was a mirror reflection of herself. It was in that quiet moment, the one where trying is forgotten and acceptance of the now this wonderful being appeared. 

Sometimes we have to go to quiet places in our mind to find our own Clarity.


A Community Full of Possibilities

When my husband suddenly died, I was on a mission to find a new community. One that I felt at home with. One that didn’t look at grief as a problem to be solved, a series of steps to be taken as a means to conquer it. I wanted a resonate connection. I wanted to feel and embrace grief and look at it as a gift. One filled with possibilities and experience. One that recognized the trauma but also provided light. I felt alone in my quest but strong in my resolve.
I remember a friend’s child asked, “Why does she seem so happy, mom?”
As hard as it was to loose Ryan, I knew I had a choice. I could sit at home in a dark house, blinds drawn, shutting the world out. I understood right away that I could choose how to view grief. I could shrivel up and die; I could view it as a problem, one that needed to be solved; or I could choose to live life to the fullest and share my gift with my community.
I went into hunting mode to find others who viewed grief in the way I choose. I craved answers. The University of Washington bookstore had many books on grief, some of which have revolutionized how our culture addresses death and dying. They focused on death as a problem to overcome. The conversation continued in a comfortable way, explaining how one deals with trauma. This new issue you are facing in your life is a problem and lucky for you, we have many books on how to solve it. I picked up book after book, read the insert and put them back.
Our culture is obsessed with problems and problem solving. Media, linguistics,and judgements are all based on problems. We are bombarded with messages about the problems in our community. The problem with our leaders, the problem with society, the problem with problems, death was a problem.
I grew frustrated, quickly. I searched for possibilities and gifts inside of books and groups that I could resonate with. Only a handful of books put grief as a gift into perspective. I wanted more. I wanted the majority of books to have that insight. I didn’t give up, reading as many books as I could get my hands on. I talked to as many widows as I could. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why we viewed grief so differently. And then tonight, I had an AHA moment.
I never viewed grief as a problem to be solved. It just was. It’s a deep human emotion, the loss of another. Yet in it is numbing beauty, a gift. One that may not be wrapped in pretty paper, tidal waves or digestible lumps. No, grief has to be felt – to it’s abundant depths, to its soul searching heights. And as you emerge from the abyss, transformation occurs.
We need a paradigm shift toward death. It’s the driving force behind my book and why I am writing Leaping Into Lovers Lane.
I never viewed Ryan’s death as an issue to be dealt with. I didn’t get angry. Even while rocked to my core and those dark, dark days, I knew light was a possibility. I accepted that I was experiencing this for a reason. A grand plan in the Universe. One that may not make sense at the time, and feel like a heavy toll to pay, but one that I accepted. One that I owned. One that I viewed as an amazing gift.
I view grief as a pathway to limitless possibilities. And I’ve found applying that mindset helps everything in life. It has brought joyous abundance, rich experiences and unconditional love. If I viewed grief as a problem, I’d still be sitting in a dark, grey house in Seattle counting raindrops.
If it were up to me, I would eliminate “problem” from the dictionary. Instead I would replace it with possibilities and gifts. Just think of a world without problems. One that instead focused on possibilities. One that was so full of light that our communities grew stronger. We supported and celebrated one another for our amazing talents and abilities.
This conversation starts with you, my community. Conversations gain momentum and then birth a new light. A new consciousness. A new way of thinking and a way to show up in the world.
Leadership starts in small groups. It moves slowly, gaining momentum and creating sustainable change. In you, in me, in everyone we surround ourselves with. I challenge you to eliminate  the grief problem from your vocabulary. Use possibilities instead. Notice what shows up for you in the world. When you find yourself slipping into that old verbiage, stop and reframe.
Changing your perspective, one that you may not even be aware of, will shift things in your world. It shifted mine.

Grey Matter

A friend of mine is a bird scientist. Her professional world consists of black and white, yes and no, true or false. As someone who is passionate about saving the planet she often goes against the status quo. While she sees the benefit of one side and the other in a given situation, she feels stuck.

Imagine, living a life in only white or black. Only one or the other.

What happens when you meet the in between? Someone or something that doesn’t fit in one side or the other. It’s in the grey matter. And often, sitting in that grey matter is where peace and calm happens. Acceptance. Open space. A breath of fresh air.

Suddenly the weight lifted from her voice. She had an AHA! moment. A shift in perspective. By allowing grey to exist, she didn’t have to choose between one or the other. She could allow for the beauty of both sides while holding space somewhere in the middle.

What a great reminder that we should all allow for a little more grey matter in our lives. That sometimes choosing a happy medium will save us from internal struggle between what’s “right” or “wrong.”

Grey matters.


Holiday Decisions

The holidays are here. The Christmas lights are being hung around the neighborhood, houses decorated with holiday decor, friends and families gathering to celebrate another year of gratitude, another year that has quickly passed. A customer came into the Market the other day and said his light hanging ritual began today. Curious, I asked how many lights he hangs and although he didn’t have a number, he did mention it takes him 9 days to hang them. Impressive!

So whatever it is that you do each year to celebrate the holidays, hang lights, bake cookies, watch football, drink eggnog – know that you are not alone in your quest to make this a memorable holiday season. And if there are things you want to change – your approach to handling the in-laws, the intricate web of family relationships, the repeat circumstances of overeating pumpkin pie – now is the time to do so. Create the life you want to live.

And great news! I am ready to help you get there. Together we will examine a place where you are feeling stuck, your perspective and explore other approaches. We’ll brainstorm action ideas from a resonate perspective and have you commit to a plan of action. Talk about feeling empowered and ready to tackle the holidays!

I look forward to hearing from you and helping you realize change.


With lots of love,

ImageJennifer and Makiah



Hello world!

Welcome to Sharp Coaching!
When’s the last time you took stock of the balance in your life? Are you abundant in one area and lacking in another? Does spending time with family and friends recharge your batteries but your career leaves you stagnant? Do you feel like there’s something bigger out there – something that urges you to take action?

Now is the time. Now is the time to live the life of your dreams. To take action in your life and work on that much needed balance. To empower yourself to put your own wants first for a change and create the ideal life that YOU want.

Some people are born with the ability to chase their dreams. And those are the people I admire most – one’s that go after what sings to their souls with passion and gusto. They inspire us to be bold, to take risks and step out of our comfort zones.

Some people need more nudging, to live the life they’ve always wanted. To open an art store, creating things with their hands, hearts and minds. To align happiness and productivity together. To put their values first and live a life that coincides with them. Where fulfillment and balance go hand in hand along with synergy, optimism and love.

Do you remember your dream? The one that you had as a little kid? The one that got you so excited that you got lost in time? Yeah, that’s the one I’m talking about. The one that may have been lost for some time but now you’re ready. You’re ready to make it become reality.

How? Things are so complicated now with kids, bills, parents, mortgages, obligations and daily routines. You can absolutely create change NOW. You can start today with little steps. Little steps that lead to big change. It may not be sudden or overnight, but with work you can achieve the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Contact me for a sample session. That’s the first step. Together we will begin a journey together and I will coach you toward the life of your dreams. I so look forward to working with you and putting a permanent smile on your face.