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The Rooted Sonshine Story

My professional goals (as my LinkedIn profile has read for years!) are to support emotional health and well-being, develop informed appreciation of culture, foster critical thinking, and provide individuals with applicable information and practical skills that can be used in professional and personal lives. I appreciate that much of my paid and volunteer work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors have supported these goals.

But in February 2023, as a new mother of three sons, I was abruptly laid off the day I returned from parental leave.



While my professional goals remained, I wondered how I could pursue them on my own, without the luxury of a company or organization.

Once I realized that those goals aren’t only professional, but also my personal goals, I quickly discovered that they weren’t even that complicated. In fact, I had always found the most satisfaction in small human acts that supported people, being empathetic to needs, being honest, learning from others, asking deep questions, returning thoughtful answers, and encouraging people to meet their own goals – whatever those goals might be – and celebrating their wins along the way.

In the midst of seeking information around FMLA legalities, night nursing our infant, signing up for unemployment, potty training our two-year-old, brainstorming with my husband for his consulting business, treating our four-year-old’s pinkeye, scheduling our elderly pug for bloodwork, managing in-law family dynamics from thousands of miles away, trying to figure out if my brand-new van is leaking oil, etc. etc. etc., I asked myself:

headshot“What are my priorities?”

“What really matters?”

“What do I really want for myself, my family, and my children?”

That’s when it occurred to me that all that really matters is how a person feels. For example, when you are having a good day and feeling good (happy, excited, relaxed, etc.), and someone cuts you off, you might think “boy, he is in a hurry!” But when you are having a bad day and feeling bad (angry, anxious, overwhelmed, etc.), you might have far less understanding for the other driver and far more descriptive language.

Or you could have a hundred things on your to do list, but if you feel confident that you can accomplish what needs to be done, there is no internal conflict. On the other hand, you might have only two things to complete in a day, but if you feel those two items are insurmountable, it impacts the quality of your day which in turn impacts your productivity and those around you.

Rooted Sonshine LLC was formed because I reaffirmed my priorities, what matters, and what I want for those around me. My priorities are those professional (and personal) goals. What matters is how people feel. What I want is for people to feel strong roots and warm sunshine so that they can develop and thrive.


Rooted-Sonshine-FunWhat about the name?

The name, Rooted Sonshine, is threefold:

  1. Rooted because I strive to be rooted. To have roots that hold me firm and steady. Roots for myself. Roots for children, my sons. Roots for my community. Roots for our society at large. When we have roots, we have a foundation. We have a sense of home. We feel connected to each other, to the earth, to ourselves. If we are firmly implanted by roots, our values, our integrity, we can grow without fear of harsh weather or turbulence. We come from our roots. And we survive because of our roots.
  2. Sunshine because even roots aren’t enough. We need sunshine to thrive. As metaphors, connection (education, stimulation, communication) is the sunshine we need.
  3. Sonshine is alternatively spelled to keep my own family present in my priorities. My father often calls people in his life “sonshine.”  Now, I have three sons of my own. Sonshine acts as a visual illustration that all our future and past generations are interconnected.

    What about Me?

    I was trained as a journalist and have written for multiple publications. I completed a BA in sociology with a minor in women's studies and an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in adult education theory and practice, Native American Indian studies, and rural mental health. I worked in child protection social work for over ten years where I was in program management and direct service. I worked toward a doctorate degree in family policy and human development and family studies, but did not finish. 

    The highlight of my university experience was when my fave anthro prof pointed at me and said, "Everyone, look, this is what an anthro looks like."