navarre, florida.  |  author. leader. wife. mother. sister. daughter. friend. unlicensed, unqualified, yet highly sought after therapist.

Meet Amie Williamson. I worked with Amie 19 years ago in Tallahassee, Florida. We did not know one another well. But, she was always very sweet. I remember her being a make-up artist and a hell of a bartender (two super important talents, right?).  Amie always worked hard; she held down two jobs while going to school. I admired her for that. Admittedly, at the age of 20, I was also a bit intimidated by her. She seemed so confident, and I was just trying to figure out how to breathe confidently. As life sometimes goes, we lose touch with those we admire.

A few months ago, a mutual friend said she met Amie at a business lunch, and after a brief conversation they identified one common denominator: j. jane. Voila! And so, here we are.  Amie’s hard work paid off and she is now the author of her first children’s book. As the j. jane holiday series continues, I think it is appropriate to highlight a woman who takes children’s fears and makes them funny. After all, fear is a recurring monster, that has made its way into the hearts of many women featured in this blog. Including my own. Enjoy today’s highlight and may I suggest adding this clever book to your holiday shopping list?


What inspired you to write a children’s book about fear entitled Scary Things Are Now Funny?

When my daughter Annabelle was about four-years old, she came out of her room one night, crying about the scary things she saw that day. She said every time she closed her eyes she saw witches and skeletons and scary animals. I snuggled in her bed with her and told her I saw a witch when I closed my eyes too, but this witch was silly, not scary.

I explained how she is in complete control of her thoughts and she could turn the scary things in her head into funny things instead. Each night we climbed into her bed to do “SCARY THINGS FUNNY” as a nightly exercise. We put skeletons on surfboards and turned scary monsters into rock stars. It worked! Slowly Annabelle’s confidence grew and she no longer showed any apprehension at bedtime. She was excited to jump into our new world we created each night.

I think it is SO important for kids to know they can control their thoughts. My book teaches kids how to use their imaginations and how to self soothe. Bedtime can be rough for many parents. This book helps parents empower their kids in a fun and entertaining way, while building confidence.


Who was the first female mentor you had in life? And how did she influence you?

My mom was the first and most influential female mentor in my life. She dealt with many serious issues and challenges as a young girl and vowed to give her children an amazing childhood filled with love and laughter and stability. And she did. She was a stay-at-home mom and was involved in every activity my sister and I tackled. She was and is an amazing mom. She is so funny and energetic and full of life. She loved family gatherings and parties and games and really good food and all kinds of people. She made everything fun for our family and our friends and the neighbors and their friends. She wanted us to dream big. She had high expectations for us, but gave us support and unconditional love when we fell short.

When I was in high school, my parents got divorced and for the first time in almost two decades, my mom re-entered the workforce. With no fresh skills or experience, she stalked a nearby company until they gave her an administrative job. She made just over minimum wage. She worked so hard and gave so much of herself to that job and over 25 years later, she’s still there. I have seen her coach and mentor and train and mother and befriend countless women who have gone through those doors. Through births and deaths and divorces and tragedies and natural disasters and diseases, my mom has reached and connected with most of those women. She is a magnet because no matter what your circumstances, your past or your shortcomings, she will see you. She will listen to you and she will guide you, just like she did for me when I was 14.

At the age of 14, I struggled in school. I had difficulty reading, which went unnoticed by all of my teachers. (It’s pretty ironic that I now have a B.A. degree in English.) My sister was a great student. She was in all advanced classes and I paled in comparison. Back then I was always comparing how school was so easy for her and such a struggle for me. One evening I had a mental breakdown at home during a homework session. I am talking uncontrollable sobs of frustration where I could barely take in a breath and where snotty balls of Kleenex covered the floor like a fresh winter’s snow. My mom came in and offered some perspective that would change my life forever.

She said, “At the end of your life, you will discover none of this matters. What does matter is the footprint you will leave in the sands of life. What have you done that made a difference in someone else’s life? How have you helped make an impact?” She was so right. It became my new mantra and my crusade on a daily basis. Now at the age of 40, I can attest to this. I know the connections we make with one another carry us from one challenge to the next. I have found one word, one moment and one sign of encouragement can change a life – forever. I have passed this message along to my children. I have used my mom’s example to show them what matters most and to teach them to engage, to reach out and to connect.

 

What is your very best advice on how to live a graceful life?

The key to living a graceful life is very simple for me. It starts with a quote: “What other people think of me is none of my business.” In the last several years, I have discovered the GREAT FREEDOM that comes from believing that whole-heartedly. I no longer allow others to define me. Grace comes from within. It starts with knowing who I am and authentically sharing myself with others. Living a graceful life is about creating connections and leaving your footprint.


j. jane side note:

Looking for an affordable holiday gift? Purchase Amy’s book: Scary Things Are Now Funny.

Also, feel free to connect with Amie on Facebook. She did admit to being an unlicensed, unqualified, yet highly sought after therapist. So I am guessing her advice is pretty much free … for now.