Debbie has combined her background as a mental health advocate with her training and experience connected to Spirituality to reinforce to youth the belief they are never alone. She holds a Masters’s Degree in Human Behavioral Psychology, a Reiki Level 2 Certification, NLP Practitioner Certification and has successfully completed the Mental Health First Aid Trainer Certification for Adult and Youth and the Resilience Certification at UPenn.
The collaboration of her experience in the mental health arena with her journey surrounding spirituality has culminated in a children’s book series dedicated to her granddaughter that introduces God and spirituality in a relatable way. Debbie’s mission is to bring to light the awareness that we are all a part of something bigger and never alone.
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Welcome to the kids sleep Show podcast where we dive into the magical world of sleep, and all things parenting. Join us as we embark on a journey filled with expert advice, practical tips and heartwarming stories that will transform your little ones into sleep superheroes, and empower you to navigate the beautiful chaos of parenting. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. And I’m on a mission to change how the world view sleep and provide accessible sleep coaching resources for all families to build healthy sleep habits in their home for children, and adults of all ages. As an award winning speaker, author and pediatric sleep expert, myself and my team of consultants work intimately with families around the world to teach healthy sleep habits to children and adults. I believe wholeheartedly that sleep is the foundation for which a happy home is built. So let’s sleep together.
Hello, everyone, it is so lovely to be here today. It is actually the day before Thanksgiving. And this episode is going out to someone who I am actually so thankful for that I have met and that’s come into my life. She’s an author, who is writing a series of children’s books, she has had such an incredible story that I invite you to listen to, because I think you’ll spend the time today going gosh, she is just such an inspiring woman. Her name is Debbie Marini. And her goal is to ensure children never feel alone, she had a situation where her son lost someone close to them at a young age from suicide and wanted to make it her mission to know that no matter what no matter how much stress, no matter how a child feels about themselves, that there’s always somebody in their corner, or by their side, showing them who they are. And she writes these books that are just so amazing. Where was God at the beach, where was God in the city, she’s got about six of them for children. And really, it’s based on a way of introducing God in a non denominational way to approach mental health and for children to learn that they’re never alone. And her story is just so fascinating. I mean, she’s had so many tragic events in her life, but at the same time has turned them into just such a beautiful story, to share and help others. And you know, we had planned it as a regular interview. And honestly, we just started talking. And I didn’t want to stop the talking to do a formal intro. And so I didn’t. And it’s beautiful. And I hope you listen to the episode today. Love it and love Debbie and check out her series of children’s books that are available at Barnes and Noble and also on Amazon. So let’s go ahead and dive in and meet Debbie.
Oh, you’re so sweet.
So we can chat all about that and and her new ones just released? Oh well. 21st right soon. This one where was God in city? But there ended up there. It’s a series of five books and there’s going to be so where was God is released Where Where was God in the city at the beach was already released. That was a best seller on the first day. And then where was God in the city
is being released tomorrow I’m doing a book signing at my house. And then there is going to be where was God in the mountains with my friends and in school in school kind of came about as a as a joke. My husband said, Well, you should write where it was gotten school, it’ll save you money, you open it up, and there’s nothing you know, it’s not in school. So um, so I was like, You know what, I think I can do something with that. So that’s when I wrote where was God at school. So by Christmas, they’re all going to be able to be packaged as a five book set and sold that way. Have you ever thought to reach out to like the Catholic schools and offer like a bundle purchase for their libraries or for like, the teacher time or something because like my kids both go to Catholic school. And so they can you know, they they learn about God, they love God, you know, and it’s they’re redoing the library this year because it kind of dwindled with technology. And we’re all like No, like these kids need to have a place like we used to love library, we’d go in and pick books. So they’re sort of reinvigorating the library space. But even just in general, having, you know, for the younger kids, especially the ability for a teacher to reinforce the lessons that they learned in religion class with such a big I mean, I can name five Catholic schools within a three mile radius of just our house in Westchester. You know, it’s like that. I was at them in Westchester,
New York. No, okay. I grew up in Delco. I’m a telco girl.
Nice, okay, I was born I was raised in Springfield. And then when I was a freshman in high school I went we moved to media. So I went to Cardinal O’Hara High School. And all of so I’ve gotten I’ve read but we live now at the Jersey shore near Belmar in Spring Lake. So nice. Okay. Yes. So we, we go ahead I’ve read at St. Rose school. And then I was just invited by a girl that I went to grammar school, I went to St. Francis of Assisi Grammar School in Springfield, and invited me to come into her school. She’s also in charge of the Philadelphia archdiocese. So she contacted every Catholic school at Philadelphia archdiocese. And what I’m doing is, when I go in for the reading, I’m bringing in books with me to sell, but I’m donating one of each copy to the libraries. So St. Rose, for example, when I went in to speak to their class, one of the teachers invited me in, and one of the things that I do is I have a conversation, a dialogue with them, because I’ll back up a little bit. But my background has always been in the mental health industry. And I just recently got my Master’s in human behavioral psychology. And along with that, I’ve also had a spiritual side that was challenged throughout my life, we lost everything we owned, twice in two separate house fires, one was 2001, and one was 2010. So I sort of went away from little spiritual side and have a little mental challenge of my own due to the shock of just going through it again a second time. And what that taught me was that most of and then through the pandemic, I worked with another psychologist, child psychologists, and we develop this program to help see sort of the silver lining of what is happening, like if we divided it into four quadrants, that it’s for high school kids, and or high school children. So basically, if you were social before, if you if you excelled socially, but struggled academically, how has the pandemic taught you to adapt to that, if you struggled socially, but excelled academically? How have you benefited from that? So we pretty much pulled the silver lining out for each scenario. And that was called Build your toolbox. And we develop that. And then through that with my spiritual side, I realized that the biggest component that is the common denominator when somebody is experienced, experiencing a mental challenge is that feeling of feeling alone and misunderstood and not understood. And that’s where my spiritual side came in one day my daughter was expecting we’re sitting on the beach here in Florida, she was talking about how to raise Quinn because her husband’s Methodist she was raised Catholic. And I said, you know, what if we threw sort of religion out the window, and just focused on spirituality and introduce Quinn to God, at an early age, so she would never feel alone. And I, we started looking into books on Amazon, and all of them were like, really heavily bible quotes and just really, you know, Bible based, which I have nothing against at all. I mean, I went to 16 years of Catholic school, my college was Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland.
However, I think in order for a child to grasp it, and understand that I wanted to make God relatable. So that’s how all five of these books came out in about, I wrote them in about 20 minutes on the beach. And that’s how I know it’s like, Holy Spirit driven. And
so that happened. And when I went into St. Rose, and I went into go read Where was God at the beach?
What I did is I asked them, if you were in the playground with all of your friends and you fell and you scraped your knee, what are some of the things your friends would say to you? And they said, very encouraging words, you know, like, Oh, I hope you’re okay, you know, do you need me to take it to the nurse? What can I do to help? And I said, Well, that’s great. And then I said, when you’re on your way home from school, and you’re by yourself and you fall, what are some of the things that go through your head? And the answers were shocking, like, I feel so stupid. I hope nobody saw I can’t believe I did that. I’m so klutzy. You know, this happens all the time. Like the children were so negatively impacting and self talking to themselves so as to you know, what if I told you that God was right there beside you, saying all the things that your friends sent to you on the playground? Are you okay, let me hug you. Let me help you. Let me heal your wound. And so then we talked about who do you talk to? Or how do you talk to God? And how do you tell your problems and what I did?
So I sort of pulled God from up there, to being right down here and relatable. And it’s been just it’s taken off. It’s just been amazing. So I mean, I am open to speaking to any school and I’m donating, I just donated a couple of bucks to rhythm savior, Christian school down the street from us here in Florida to brand new charter school. So,
so I’m, I, I’m going everywhere, anywhere that that this can go, I’ll take it. Oh, that’s great. I should Kelly, I should take a look at scraping to see if I can do like a Catholic school. I mean, just to start, like a Catholic school scrape or something, I’ll just put that on my list. But
but that mean, what a great, I think, to your point, non
religious weigh it out, I mean, in a way to bring religion in without it making about like, who is your God, you know, just that spiritual presence and so, so that I mean, just I Kelly was telling me about your story with the fires, like, I get to pick yourself up from that, and then have it happen again, you know, it’s like, what are what do you take from this to be a positive in such a negative situation? You know what I mean? Like, yeah, effective, like, we’re safe. But we have lost everything. And now, we have to do this again, like, why are you testing me? You know,
you’re exactly right. And I’ll be honest with you, my focus was mostly on why are you doing that to my kids, like, there was one moment where Sarah was a junior in high school in the second fire, the first fire, she was six, Rachel was five and Nikki was two. And the babysitter we found out later was she was very heavy set. And we found out later that every single time she was a professional nanny in Princeton, New Jersey, and she didn’t do steps. So every time we had her babysit our kids, we’re putting the baby down. She wouldn’t go up the stairs because she was so heavyset. She didn’t want to fall. So when we had the fire, the first time Sarah went upstairs and rescued Nick. At six years old, he was already embedded in his room was filled with smoke, because the fire went up the wall in our bedroom, went into his room. And so that was a lot for her. And then the second fire, she was a junior and I and I was taking her to cheerleading and Rachel to dance I have. I had a cheerleader and a dancer. And I remember a song came on that Sarah light. And she said, Oh, you know, she looked out the window. She said to herself, oh, I’ll have to buy this, this CD tomorrow. And I thought about it. And I’m like, why wouldn’t she just download it? And it hit me. She had no laptop. She had nothing, no phone, she had no way to download anything. And yet, she wasn’t complaining. She was just like, Oh, I like this song. I have to go buy the CD. She wasn’t saying I wish I had a laptop to download it. And I just looked out the window as I was driving. And I just remember tearing up and just like, Why did this have to happen to them again. So that was my biggest impact was, you know, I was so mad at God. And I remember, we lived in a religious town called Ocean Grove. And it’s very spiritual, I should say. And I was getting ready Ocean Grove asked me to get up and speak about gratitude after the second fire because we all survived. And I was feeling anything but grateful at this point. And I was a mental health professional. I knew the signs of depression. I didn’t connect the dots. I hadn’t gone to the beach all summer. I didn’t want to deal with the questions. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I was doing everything I could to just get through the day. And that was it. And so I had to get up and talk about being blessed. And I looked at the minister and I just broke down. I said, I don’t I feel anything but blessed. I said, I have turned my back on God, I am so mad at him. I am screaming at him. I’m driving in my car to the ocean and I do nothing but scream. And she will she giggled a little and smiled and grabbed my hand she said I hate to tell you but you haven’t turned your back on him. You’re still talking to him. And that changed the whole trajectory. I went I started getting help my husband and I got counseling like I was out the door I was nobody was making me happy and it was everybody else’s fault. So I had an apartment in mind who’s gonna be decorated so cute.
I regret about not go through a divorce. But so I had an apartment picked out I was like ready we were talking about leaving. We were talking about money all that and I said to mark I don’t think I love you anymore. Why?
He looked at me and he said, Well, I’ll just have to love enough for both of us right now. And that’s when it hit me. So those two things just changed my whole life. And I never looked back. And I look at all of that is like, I don’t ever say there’s a reason for everything. I think that validates so much pain, like what’s going on right now with Palestine and Israel? Yeah. Yeah, I don’t want to say there’s a reason for it all validates the evil that’s out there. But I do believe firmly, there’s a lesson in everything. And that’s what I look for is the lesson. Well, and it’s, I think, to your point, it’s the perspective on it. Like, you can look at it and say, Wow, I have armed my children with
the ability to deal with something that I know on the other side, no matter what comes at them when I’m not around, because they’re in college, or they’re going through, as you know, in their 20s trying to figure out their career and their friendships and their relationships, right? You have given them through those losses, and through your perspective shifts the tools to use later in life. And they will be forever changed because you gave them that lesson, right? Like, you know, my dad made poor financial choices when we were growing up. He I came home from school one day, and there were about 50 FBI agents at my house. I was 15 or so at the time. They padlocked our front door. My dad went to jail for six years, give or take. And my mom was left as a stay at home mom, like, Okay, well, you have no house, they took everything. They froze all our assets, and we have a red Chevy Cavalier. And that’s it, like, what do we do now. And my brother had just graduated high school, I was like, in middle school, you know, or in high school, I was three years younger. So maybe I was 15 or so. And I my whole world was turned upside down. We were like the family that like helped all our friends. And we were I would say, like, upper middle class, you know, at that point, but we were very like giving Well, you know, my dad made poor choices. He was gone. And all of a sudden were like, well, now what? You know what I mean? So I like, have to work three jobs, my brothers work, and I’m going to high school, my mom’s trying to find a job, like we’re all trying to help each other, you know, and we live, we ended up like, being homeless for a bit, moved up to Wilkes Barre, where I was born. And my grandma slammed the door in my mom’s face, and we had nowhere to go. And so we found like an apartment, it was like 450 a month, which at the time was like a stretch. You know, we didn’t realize it was in like a drug infested neighborhood. But that’s neither here nor there. We just didn’t go outside at night, because it looked nice during the day. And so we did that. And you know, my dad was gone. And we’re the ones now sending money to jail for my dad to get coffee and cigarettes. And I’m like, What have
ya role shift here, like, wait a minute, like, you’re the one that did this, and we’re sending you money that we don’t have, you know, I mean, and through those six years, like I went to college, I put myself through college, I worked, my brother helped us, he took a ton of sacrifice for my mom and I to be like, stable, and I am forever grateful to him still this day. And I look at those lessons. And my dad came over last year, and we had some conversations about some things going on in our family. And he just looked at me and he goes, Do you hate me? Because I was very frank about his decisions and how it impacted my life. I’m 42 now and I’m very proud of who I am. But your ignorance to think that you didn’t have an impact on what, you know what I mean, like what my life turned out to be. And I was like, Dad, I don’t hate you at all. I love you very much. But you can’t be ignorant to the fact that what you did didn’t have an impact on class. You know what I mean? Like, that’s a stupid question for you to ask it. Let me give you the real answer. And I mean, I’ve word vomited for like 20 minutes, and he just looked stunned at me. And I had never said it, you know, who just and it wasn’t meant to be hurtful. It was meant to be honest. Like, here’s why I am this way. I will always work. I will do these things. I have this perspective. I don’t sugarcoat things, you know, and if you don’t like it, like, you raised it, yeah, no. And I think he was taken aback. And in the moment he, I think he finally realized like, wow, you know, because my mom died almost 1515, almost 20 years ago now. And so it was like, through these experiences that
you’re just like, oh my gosh, like, don’t say that, that didn’t have an impact. So I think for you, those lessons you taught your kids in gratitude in perspective, like in the moment, that was a terrible situation, but coming out of it, like I had genetic testing a couple years ago at Paoli, and they found I had a rare genetic mutation that killed my mom, but we didn’t know it was genetics. We thought she just got stomach cancer. Turns out it was super rare. There’s like 2000 people in the world that have it. And the doctors at Penn were like we’re caught in your stomach.
Get out totally. And then you’re going to have a double mastectomy. And I’m like,
No, I’m fine. Actually, I’m good. I do yoga work, like work out a clean. No, it doesn’t matter. We’re gonna cut your stomach out. And you know, it took a couple days. And they did they cut my stomach out my brothers and my aunt’s like, it’d be five years ago in December. And I was just like, What are you talking about? And that lesson now is like, yeah, that sucked, like that moment sucked, that you’re sucked, like, but you know what, my mom died to save my life because we never would have had that testing. So then that turned into
I’m grateful that she died because now I won’t die for my kids. And I can be aware that my kids also have to have the testing. And by then if they do have to get their stomach out, it’ll probably be laparoscopic in 20 years, not the way I had to do it, which was open. So it’s like, I think, don’t discredit the lessons that you have in your life. You know what I mean, Debbie, with teaching your kids something that they might not ever tell you that they learned. But that is by all means like shaping who they are and who they’re becoming as they’re growing like that? Well, and today, for example, one of the lessons that I got also because it can work in reverse. One of the lessons that I received from watching my kids is, one day we had to scramble to find a place to live, which is not easy. It was March at the Jersey Shore. So all of the homes were already rented for summer and you get twice as much you get in one week. What’d you get a month in the winter, in the summer. So we were scrambling, we couldn’t afford to find a rental. We were like we were just hopping from house to house whoever would host us for a period of time so that we can find a place and this one home came up in this woman I’m just forever grateful for her. She talked to the owner and convince them to allow us to live there for what a rent winter rental would cost. So we had a home. The positive was we had a home the negative was it was right across the street from our house that had burned down with it was a big block fire. So there were seven others that went with it. So I had to look at that every day. And it was really wearing on me. And one day I was walking by my middle daughter’s bedroom and she was a freshman in high school. And there she was on she was she was also my mini me. She’s very spiritual. And she was lying on her bed with her head propped up on our elbows, reading the Bible and writing in a book Getting ready to do a testimonial for a missions group that was coming to ocean grow. And I walked by and I saw her just leaping into this with so much faith that I literally said shame on me that that I’m wallowing in sort of this not that my feelings weren’t valid. And the way that I was handling wasn’t valid. I mean, it was very valid. I had every reason in the world. But that sort of that vision sort of shocked me out of it. And today she is officiating a wedding of two people that she was friends with at Penn State. Up in Newport, Rhode Island. They asked her to officiate it.
It’s I would say, above all the spiritual illness of it all like our son, when he Kelly, you can attest to this, when he would pitch
that Catholic University, he would get down on one knee and act like he was tying his shoe. But I knew what he was doing. He was down there and my father had passed away. And he was very close to my dad, and he would kneel down and just pray as he pretended to tie his shoe. And then he would go up to bat I mean up to pitch. And so it was, it’s, there’s a lot of good, that came from it. But for a very long time, I resisted being that girl that talked about God, because I didn’t want to be that person that walked into a party and everybody because whenever you talk about God, people tend to put you on this pedestal and think that you’re this perfect specimen of a person that you’re so close to God because you’re so good. And I just didn’t want to be that person that everybody’s like, Oh, here she comes to come talk about God just don’t talk like that. So for a very long time, I resisted talking about it. And once I gave them my purpose and my passion aligned, and that’s the result of this book. Well, oh my gosh. I mean, it’s just
beautiful that you get to give back to and feel. The worlds collide. You know, I think as new parents, which is many of who listen to the kids sleep show they they don’t know their purpose. I think that was my problem. I didn’t know my purpose. Like I was really good at business and I loved it. I loved making money. I loved climbing the corporate ladder. I love doing all the things right. And I had lost my connection. I think I turned my back a bit on the Catholic Church.
For a variety of reasons that we don’t need to get into today, but that impacted my extended family growing up Catholic with boys who went to Catholic school and girls who went to Catholic school. And so my personal experiences with the church left me
questioning, but I always believed in God, but I didn’t feel
like I belonged at the Catholic Church because of those experiences that I had grown up with, right in my extended family. And as a new mom, I felt equally disconnected like floating. You know, as a new parent, I was questioning how good I was, like, I knew I was really good and confident at work. So that was my safety net, like I could, I could go back to work and things would be like normal in my head, you know, and I think
the ability to fuse a relationship with God, or a spiritual power or higher belief doesn’t matter who you call it, or what you call it, or right, like just that belief in that spirituality. As a new parent,
I wish I had, looking back on it,
done that more, and spoke to somebody because I didn’t speak to anybody, you know. So I mean, it’s such a blessing that you get to teach kids that they have someone always there that they can talk to, you know, that to your point that like negative self talk and go away, and such a gift to be able to spread it in this way with this message to these kids, and you get to fuse the part of your life that you’re passionate about.
With the part of your life that is still transforming, you know, and there’s I am that I’m very blessed to be one of the one of the things I too struggled with the infant phase, but once they kind of started smiling back at me and everything, I was like, okay, cool. I’m doing it right. But so I really do believe that one of the jobs that I really nailed in life is is being a mom, we moved a lot. So I was constantly. And when it seemed like whenever we met, we moved like nine times in, I think I want to say like 13 years, 14 years, we moved nine times. And every single time we moved, I was like pregnant or you know, expecting and Nick was one of my youngest was one of the twin but we lost the twin early on.
But I would have kept having more and more kids. But my husband was like, Okay, this is too stressful like it because I had an issue with each one of the pregnancies. So But long story short, I’m one of the I swore I had a,
I had a great experience with the Catholic schooling, because of my parents being very close friends, with a lot of sisters and a lot of priests. So I got to see the priest as human first. But I quickly realized that I didn’t really want my relationship with God to go through them, too. You know what I mean? Like, so the Catholic Church, I too, had had a couple of things happen, where I,
my faith was extremely challenged. And that’s why this book is not religiously based, because I didn’t even learn about another religion. Until I had neck when when we lived in West Windsor, New Jersey. All the kids when Nicky was a baby, he was best friends with this little boy. And every day they would be together. And we sent them to preschool together and all the kids go to Beth high in preschool because it was the best preschool in the area. So Nick went to Beth Higham, and we would sit down for meals. And Nick would say, you know, the Jewish greats like burqa tie, I do not yell, you know, Allah, you know, and he would start doing the grace with us. And we, that’s where I really realized that we’re all the same, I mean, the Old Testaments the same, and we all believe as long as you live a life that is rooted in kindness and goodness, and motivated by love. Yep.
That is God. That’s what in and I don’t even question people that call it divine presence, or, you know, the universe or karma, that type of thing. It’s really just believing there’s something bigger than you. And that’s what, that’s what will help you through when you experience a mental challenge. One of my son’s friends took his life at 19. And his name was Sean Collie, and his mother is a huge champion now for just educating and she and I have actually chatted a couple of times and Shawn would sleep over all the time at our house, and he would always wake up and his hair would be a mess and he loved our pancake.
So we’d feed everybody breakfast and I would sneak down in the morning and see how many boys on their sleeping over. And then I go upstairs make pancakes and and I remember when he passed when he took his life, I was standing in line at the funeral home, ready to walk up to the mom and I was saying what can I was a nervous wreck. I’m like, What can I say to comfort her? I’m so I’m usually very good at this. I’m really intuitive. And I can kind of get into their head and say something of comfort, but I was blank. And I got up to her. And she took my hands and she said, Shawn loved your kitchen island. And that was also here. She was comforting me in this in that moment. And I carry Sean’s MasterCard. His birthday was yesterday, October 19.
And he wouldn’t have been 24, he would have been my son’s age. And so for to give any child at a young age, that gift of knowing that they’re never alone, is I won’t stop until I’m no longer walking this earth like I am. This is not a moneymaker. I’m not making money at this when you said that. You finally figured out how to like, make money and do what you do. I would love that lesson, I would love to do that. My husband would love for me to do that. But for right now, it’s it’s just,
I just want to get the word out. I just want to get stuck into the hands of as many kids as I can. So well, that’s right. In the moment. I’m thinking like, Gosh, I wish there was a book.
Where is God in the war? You know, it’s like, you look and you’re like, these poor kids are displaced, and their lives are turned upside down overnight. And it’s, they’re innocent. By standards, regardless of your sides and your beliefs and your religions like that. What is happening is so sad. It’s like, Don’t lose faith in
the presence of something in despair. My next goal is to write a chapter book. I’m working on that now. And I actually wrote the dedication page already. And it’s, it’s going to be called
with just where was God? And it’s going to be geared toward tweens, you know, like 11 to 18? And just how do you find him in this turmoil that’s happening. And the thing to believe is that to the greatest gift, the way that I explain it, and and I learned how to sort of vocalize this when I was going for my Masters in Human Behavior, because a lot of people challenged my spirituality and religion and I loved it. I mean, we were all extremely friendly and loved each other. And it was all it was all done online. But I went to my graduation in San Diego.
So I got to meet a lot of the people in class that that were with me, but a lot of people were questioning like, how can you still believe how can you do this. And here’s the thing, like the greatest gift, and the greatest curse that we ever got was the gift of freewill. So those moments where you have something in your head telling you, you know, don’t say that, don’t do that, and you say it anyway, or you do it anyway, that’s our Gift of free will, God doesn’t want us to just be blindly walking the earth with him, like controlling us like a joystick, right? So
there is, there is evil in that world, that in this world that use their free will, to, you know, to do bad things. And
it takes the people who use the free will to do good, and listen to God, we can overpower this, like, it’s not God making these bad things happen. We can overpower this, if we just get the word out that we just have to believe there’s something bigger,
you know, people like you know, people like these evil people, like, you know, Hitler, and then they can’t succeed if we all just and forget about I’m so frustrated with the concept of good and bad and right and wrong being lost under the veil of politics. And even with the Bible, there are people who live by the Bible, but there are people that hide behind the Bible and use interpretations in their favor to inflict judgment. You know, and, and for me, I just have a very clear voice on it. And it’s, it’s, you know, it’s going to get controversial and I know it’s going to get controversial and um, am I ready for that yet? No, because that’s part of the reason why I
After real estate, because that was a lot of pressure was to I was a broker. And it’s the largest thing that anyone is ever going to spend money on. And it was all on my back. And it’s he told me that if somebody called me at two o’clock in the morning, and I had set a boundary that I’m not going to answer my phone at two o’clock in the morning, and they got upset with me, I found myself questioning Did I do the right thing by not grabbing the phone at two o’clock in the morning? So I deal with that all the time with sleep coaching clients, they call it to a yes, yes, a quick question. I’m like, I’m sleeping. And they’re like, well, we didn’t expect you to answer like, No, you did. And not because I don’t take my phone upstairs anymore. Because wondering, but yeah, should I have answered the phone? Are they in a moment of question? Like, if you have a moment of question call 911. Like, yeah, absolutely, there are boundaries that we set that will make them go seek help. And another way they’ll they’ll build. So it’s like parents of parents are constantly jumping in there to solve their kids problems, you’re doing your child a disservice, because they will never learn resiliency, and they’ll never learn problem solving. So they’ll be those kids that are now 24 out in the working world with a manager that they don’t like. And they’re going to feel that it’s it’s less i My focus is with my kids, it was less about your rights as an individual, and more about your right to the community. You know, that doesn’t mean that you do self care, there’s such a difference between selfish and self care doesn’t mean you constantly have to be giving back to your community. But what it means is that, if it gets you come down to a situation, where what you want is not for the greater good of those around you, then you gotta step back, reevaluate, take a look and say, okay, you know, I agree, this is not the best thing for the community right now. So
like, I will say, my kids are seven and nine. And I am a
balanced person when it comes to them, right. But I’m also like, real talk, you know, I don’t like I want my kids to be kind, I never want to find out. They’re the one who’s the bully. I also want to teach them real life, but like my son came home just after I had this conversation with Kelly this week, about an hour and a half later, my son came home, and he looked sad. And I was like, What’s up, but he’s like, it’s soccer. They’re calling me names. They called me slow or something. And my son is very sensitive. But I’m like, buddy, if you want to play football next year, number one, you got to learn to toughen up, like, and I’m trying to teach him there’s a balance between like kids being kids and joking, like art come on Slowpoke. And the fact that they’re really mean, mean, you know what I mean? And there’s a difference. And in the situation, like, come on, you’re slow. Like, they’re not saying it to hurt your feelings. All right. So we had this conversation Thursday, because I had my husband and talked to him. Because, you know, like, I tried to give my best go at it. But I’m like, You know what, Adam, my husband grew up, cross eyed his whole 18 years, he was bullied, he was picked on but he was a heck of a good athlete. But he was cross-eyed his whole life till he was 18 and had a surgery that fixed his eye. Because it was nothing he could fix, you know. And it was a very painful surgery. And so I had my husband talk to him. And then, you know, just last night it came up again. And you know, he’s like, I don’t like when they say stuff like that, to me. I’m like, buddy, people are just sometimes being kids, and you’re gonna say things, you say the same things to your friends. Like, I can’t believe you miss the past Come on, you know, and I was like, that could be hurtful to your friend in the context that they take it. But it could also be a motivator for you to like get better to do better and I was like, but you have to remember in the moment like you never want to be the kid who is the bully who is making somebody intentionally feel bad versus kids being kids like come on slow poke catch the ball, and I was like, there’s a big difference even though you’re saying come on to a poke catch the ball and I was like, so like we’re trying to navigate this with our kids. Like, where’s the lesson where you’re not the bully? Because I will never ever ever if I so much as find out like you know, they’re like I’m very sad. Yeah, into that like, that’s not acceptable here and my kids are you know what I feel like not going to be the bully but I don’t think any parents like yeah, my kids and
so we’re just trying to like instill lessons of like, be kind don’t ever make your friend feel like that. You are always stick up for your friends because it’s hard like to teach that lesson but at the same time I’m trying to teach my son right now like, dude, sometimes they’re not bullying you like they’re just being kids. And what that lesson like how you say that they’re just being kids, you know, but I’m like trying to say like, you say it sometimes to your friends in certain tones. You have to start to understand the difference that nine where you know, this kind of stuff is gonna happen because if you think you
We’re gonna play football next year and there’s no like, in fun trash talking, like, you’re gonna have a problem on that football field or the soccer field or fifth grade, you know, as like, just things change, and there’s more pressure in that realm. So I’m trying to arm them mentally with that, you know, my kids go to bed every night with a meditation and meditation plays, they fall asleep with it playing, it’s on this little turtle that we use. And that, you know, I hope that that’s helping them to be like mentally stronger. You know, my daughter lost. She’s very good at Irish dance, but she’s seven. And she’s dancing with all these kids that are eight because she dances Europe. She’s like, 18th in the country right now. And I’m like, severely, you’re one of the top 20 Irish dancers for eight year olds, and you’re seven in the entire North America. Like, you don’t understand the magnitude of that you’re a very good Irish dancer. But I also don’t want her head to get full on her to be like, I’m the best Irish dancer. You know what I mean? So she went to if they caught a fish, she went to a fish last weekend, she got fourth place. She was very sad because she didn’t get a sash. And I let her cry. She cried for a solid 20 minutes in the car. You know what, you’re not always gonna get a sash? Like, yeah, you’re very good dancer. But you know what, you didn’t get a sash. So life sucks sometimes.
And I just let her cry because I’m like, You know what, it’s okay. I’m not gonna sit in comfort, you will be like, it’s okay. You were the best those kids weren’t good. Like, you didn’t get a sash today. Sorry, you know, or approach from a human behavioral perspective is spot on. And it’s something that they’re actually teaching it my my oldest daughter, who has Quinn, she’s a first grade teacher, and what they have in the curriculum and her old school, she just switched schools, but in our old school, they have a style of teaching that’s called an empathetic style of teaching. And so what you did with your let me tell you what you did. Absolutely. Everything you did was absolutely spot on spot on. See, I’m finally getting it Debbie
Ballard validated their feelings, which is really that said, there’s like three steps. When your child comes to you and complains about something, the first thing you have to do is validate your their feelings and say, you know, I can totally understand why you might feel that way.
You don’t want to share like I was also a Mental Health First Aid trainer. So I would go and train parents and teachers and educators on signs to look for that a child might be struggling.
And so and then how to do it. It’s like a five step process. It’s called an allergy. And it’s, it’s assess the situation you have to see it that’s like a you know, a 911 kind of situation. Then you go ahead and you listen non judgmentally, which you did with your kids totally listened non judgmentally.
And then you give reassurance, but you don’t say like I remember when I use do I speak a lot but not I remember when I was a kid I had that happen this is because they don’t want to hear your story. This is about them. But it’s like, I can see how that made you feel that way I can and how you might feel so that’s all validation, and then you. So you give reassurance, then you encourage self help, which is your meditation is number one. And then you encourage professional help if that’s warranted. So
what you did is you totally validated their feelings. And the empathetic style of teaching is I’ll give you an example, if Johnny is drumming his fingers on the desk, right? And it’s bothering the rest of the class. You can’t just say or you don’t just say, Johnny stop drumming your fingers on the desk, because all that does is make Johnny stop what he’s doing. But it doesn’t teach him the why. So what you say is Johnny, what are you doing right now? And he’ll say, I’m drumming my fingers on the desk. And you’ll say okay, how do you think that everyone around you feels about you drumming your fingers on the desk. So it it widens your lens to consider what how your actions are impacting other people. So with the empathetic approach, he comes home, he says, I feel bullied, his feelings are very valid. He feels that way. Right? So at that point, we have to throw all of our judgment about why that’s coming and how that feels. And I mean, I Oh, I was like the worst parent before I like as far as that because what it’s doing is bringing up your past and, and you’re reacting like I don’t want my kid to be that shy kid like I was or I don’t want my kid to be this, you know, wimpy, sensitive kid. And it took me four ever. There’s something called HSP highly sensitive people. And it took me forever. It’s actually a diagnosable scientific
Brain wired condition. It took me forever to accept that as a positive, because there are a lot of positive things that come with HSP. And that’s what I am.
So validating, saying, Oh, I can understand, let’s say it and chat, right? You said, you maintain that physical presence, you touch his hand, every single thing you did was absolutely right. And then you went ahead and said, Why didn’t the lambs? Do you remember when you said something to x? And that, do you think that maybe they might have felt the same way that what you’ve done is you’ve made it realistic and put it into perspective. It’s always about pulling back the lens, because all he can feel in that moment is his trauma. And you make him pull back the lens and say, oh, okay, okay, that was an everyday situation, that’s probably going to happen again. So kudos, you Mom, you’re and the meditation part. I love it. That’s what got me through. I chose when I was diagnosed with situational depression as a result of the trauma
of the second fire. I chose meditation over medication, I don’t have anything against medication, it’s definitely needed and necessary. But meditation got me through, there’s a book out there called
10% happier by Yeah, I read it, I read that. I love it that a friend of mine whose son was diagnosed with autism was given that book, when his son received the diagnosis. And he gave it to me, and I just, I love it. He has like a whole podcast and like, separate business line. Now with that, I mean, it was just because I’m not as somebody who can quiet my head, like Kelly knows, she’s like, stop, stop working. Stop, you know, and I don’t like, I think, for me, I like work. And I like what I do. So I don’t want to stop because I don’t have hobbies. But I’m like, I need to find a hobby. Like, I love yoga, but even me, I won’t do it. Because an hour of yoga means an hour outside of the office, which means every day for an hour, that’s five hours, I’m not working, which means it’s five hours, I’m not making money as like an entrepreneur, that’s a tough mindset, because I have to pay my mortgage. You know, when I worked in corporate, I made very good money. And I knew that every two weeks no matter what the heck I did, their money was in my bank account, you know what I mean? So like, I can go to Wegmans for an hour and a half and not get in trouble because I you know, I’m still getting paid on my lunch break. And it didn’t, you know, and now it’s like, just, I think, even myself, like, I’m on this journey, where I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna meditate, I’m gonna walk the dog, I’m gonna do something every day. Like I have a treadmill here. I didn’t do it during episodes, because I don’t want it to be loud. But I walk. So I walk really slow, and I work where I can because it gives me some outlet of exercise, but the meditation for me, you know, I didn’t ever look at the Rosary as meditation. And it’s funny because I went to a yoga class where they teach Java, right? And so it’s JPA. There’s this.
Right? I’ve never done Java before. Right? So we go to this thing, and I get these Java beads. And it’s, you say, like some Sanskrit thing at this meditation. We did like a workshop, my best friend and I at the gym here. And it you say like omnimaga, Shiva on the MA Shiva on the MA Shiva, and you do it in your head. And it’s meditation. It’s this repetitive statement that’s in Sanskrit, I forget what it means, but its own the Maha Shiva. And then as I was laying there doing it, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, this is just like the Rosary. The Rosary is meditation. You say, you know, the our father’s a Hail Marys. And so, glory be you know, and I’m like, I never looked at the rosaries as a meditation. But that’s exactly what it is. So for me, like, I find I can meditate better, not in total silence, but by doing something like this, or by listening to like the device, you know. And it was funny because my husband was struggling a little bit with sleeping, which is ironic because I do pediatric and adult sleep coaching. And he had an issue with like, his cortisol levels, and adrenal fatigue and all kinds of stuff going on. So every night at 2am, you would be wide awake, and it’s very common in your 40s to have that as a man or woman, because your your hormone levels are messed up, your cortisol is firing at the wrong time. It’s adrenal function and stuff. And so the one night, I was like, you know, take these beads and then when you wake it to, like, just start saying something repetitive, like, oh, ma Shiva, you know, so the next morning, he’s like, I tried the beats, and I’m like, Oh, what did you say? And he’s like, I want a ham sandwich.
What did you say? And he goes, I just said, I want a ham sandwich. I’m like, What is it with you and sandwiches, telling us a story? Because I got once and he was like, Can I get you a sandwich? I’m like, I don’t want sandwich. My face is bleeding. I don’t want to see which I want to band aid. So he has some attachment to eating because he always references sandwiches and I love my husband very much. We have a
thing else besides I want a ham sandwich at two in the morning, you know, turns out, we figured out it was function and adrenal fatigue, we got him some supplements and he is now fine.
In the moment, it was, you know that meditation for me is what? I can’t sit, I can’t quiet my mind, I just cannot quiet my mind. I cannot sit in silence and be like, boom, boom, you know, like, it’s just not my jam. But I was able to do it successfully with my way. And so I think what you’re saying to given kids different outlets, your daughter, she found the Bible, and she was journaling, right? You found meditation, right? For some people, medication is the right approach. My girlfriend is like, Courtney, Prozac is my jam. And I’m a better parent because of it, you know, and she owns it. And she happily talks about it, and she doesn’t hide behind it, because she’s like, it made me a better parent. You know, for me, sometimes I struggle with like, what outlet? You know, like, my mouth is not always the cleanest. I tried to control it around my kids. But like, for me just talking out loud or talking to myself or saying things, it’s the meditate. You know, I think we all have to find our own way to
have that perspective in the moment on what we’re doing at any age. You know, I tried to give my kids that perspective. I tried to teach it for myself, you know, and I
know, I mean, sometimes you have to use that word, because it just gets that point across. But yeah, but yeah, I completely agree with you. I feel like we are aligned on so many things. I know this is amazing. That’s why like when we just started talking like, you know what, I’ll just
keep the conversation going. And we can use it because it’s more authentic into what I’m trying to send as a message me is like,
believe in what you’re doing. Trust your intuition, trust, the higher power, like, have faith, but also like, go forward in faith that
there is a lesson in everything that we’re doing. Yeah, there. There’s a group of women, it’s just forming now that, that again, I don’t know why I just I woke up, I had what my I have a friend who’s an executive coach, and she calls them downloads, I woke up and I had this download. And I reached out to these five, these four other authors that also have these podcasts. And they’re all the common denominator is my publisher, Starlight books, and I reached out to all of them private, message them on Facebook. And I said, I just I don’t know why. But the five of us need to meet. And I had them all over at my house. A couple of weeks before we came to fly the day before we left for Florida. I had them all over. And I set up the table really nice. I lit a whole bunch of candles. And we just talked and what came out of it is we each have our own stories that have all taken us in these different possible directions. And I mean, maybe you’re meant to be included in this group. Because what I’m starting now is it’s sort of going to be a mentorship,
seminars for young women that are about to enter the workforce. And it’s how to, you know, here’s my mistakes, or here’s my lessons. Here’s what I did. This is how I got to where I went. And each one of us I found the more we talked, the one question that I asked is, What is the greatest challenge in your life that made you who you are today. And through all of those challenges, I closed my eyes as they all chatted about their challenges. And what happened is, we all divvied up into our areas of expertise. So
I always say before I give up, I always have the saying of okay, you know what, I’m just going to try this first. Like I’m really good. Our pool, our pool is constantly breaking down here in Florida first world problems, but it is one. So I instead of calling pinch a penny to get them to come out and fix a poll, I always say let me try this first. So that’s going to be that’s the name of our group. It’s going to be try this first. And I came up with the logo and bought the domain name. So it’s just now getting off the ground. And what we want to do is target first sororities and colleges and go in and speak to the sorority girls and the young women that are in the sororities and just sort of tell our stories and it’s going to be called the author’s input and share our story share how we got there, do question and answer so I have a feeling that you and I OB definitely check out I would love that. That’s amazing. And I think it’s so just so important at that age, you know, because they’re all gonna have so many different experiences to like, take them into that next chapter. Right? Yeah. In your 20s I found I was very
challenged, right? Like I want to challenge the status quo. I want to ride you know, I want to get up the corporate ladder and I actually wrote my master’s thesis on it.
In my 20s, I wrote about Kaleidoscope career types, they call it like, challenged. And then in your 30s, you’re trying to find authenticity and balance, right? Like, so balance comes first, like you have a family and you have a career and you have all these different things, and you’re in a new relationship, right? So in my 20s, it was this challenge in the 30s, it was this balance and in my 40s now I’m like moving into authenticity. Like, I want to go to bed every night and just ask myself, do I feel joy? Right? Yes, I need to pay my mortgage, but I don’t need $9 million. I don’t need the fancy car marketing influencer, like I don’t, that’s not my life, like
hanging out with my kids and get them off the bus three and pay my bills and, you know, enjoy the freedom to go on vacations and stuff. But like, that’s all I’m looking for. But I want to feel joy, that’s what’s most important, like, you know, so yes, being financially secure, but also just truly on that path to joy, which is so interesting, because in my 20s, it was challenged. And now I’m in this like, authenticity phase where, like, I just want to be my authentic self. And if you don’t like me, that’s okay. You know, but live in authenticity versus something else, you know, so I think those lessons for people to understand, like, you’re gonna go through these ages, stages and phases. Yeah, age, you know, I know, my God, wait until you’re 60. I’ll be 61 this week. And it’s, it’s like, you don’t even have to try to be authentic. You just, you know, you’re sort of like, well, if they don’t like me by now. I mean, that’s pretty much where I am at 40. Well, you know, what I don’t need more friends are way ahead of the curve. Because I remember I used to have my husband called at 99 disease, I would go into a room of 100 people 99 love to me and one didn’t. And I would sit with that one, to get into their head not to get them to try to like me, but to understand like, that’s always the place that I’ve always come from. I’ve never, it just happened online. There was a woman who commented about going into a restaurant.
And I commented on how much I love the restaurant. And she said, Oh, I loved it. But and then she comments at Oh, I went there with my husband once and we sat down and there was a gentleman next to me with no shoes and hadn’t showered in days. And, and oh, it just ruined our whole dining experience. And I just I can’t ever go back there. So I thought about it. And I’m like, Well, I don’t know where they’re coming. I could have easily been judgmental and said the owner of the restaurant, I know her personally, she was probably giving this purse, this homeless person, an ounce of respect for just one moment in their life and letting them eat at a table instead of eating outside. But I didn’t, I sat back and I’m like, I don’t know her story. So I said, You know what, let me share, if you don’t mind, I hope you take this the right way. Let me share a story with her. And I shared a story about when I was a teenager, and we were in St. Augustine. And we went to get a mass and my whole family was split up because we relate. So I ended up sitting next to a homeless man and I came out and as a mom, I was gonna gag the whole church. And my mother said something I’ll never forget. She said, You know, we get to shower, whenever we want. We get a warm bed to sleep and we eat whenever we feel like it. That’s a privilege, like not everybody has that. And it clicked me out of that selfish teen phase and into seeing how the world impacts others. And so I shared that story with her. And she then shared with me saying, I am in tears right now. I thank you so much. I am a compassionate person, I volunteer with the vets. I’ve rescued two puppies, I have every ounce of empathy in me, she said, but I have an eating disorder. And that ruined my eating experience which triggered my history of eating. And I said this is a prime example of why dialoguing with each other with no judgment attached is so important. And so that’s, you know, that’s kind of how I’ve always approached it. But now even more so it’s peace and harmony are like, that’s my jam. If I can just try to get everybody to change their perspectives and not be so rigid. The Enel regardless of your political party, if it’s right, it’s right. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. And you know, sometimes there is a gray area. So well, I love that. I mean, tell me, Debbie, how can people find you? How can they learn more about the books and where they’re upcoming? Like where can they go to learn more? So the books are available
through there on Amazon or Walmart, Target any website that you could put in there, my book is available on that Barnes and Noble. And then I am doing a book signing tomorrow here in Florida. I do have a website. It’s called Debbie marini.com. And,
and you can go on there and you can see my past book signings and I’d have to update it and go on and put the schools that I’m going to be talking with
at some schools that I have spoken to, and then the other three books just keep going on Amazon and keep singing. And if they buy them, just remember to review them because the more reviews you get, the higher it gets to the top. And again, this is not about money. This isn’t about making money. This is just about I’m just trying to get this book in the hands of as many kids as I possibly can so that they always remember that they’re never alone. And I do it in honor of my niece Quinn, who is the subject of the book, I mean, my niece, my granddaughter Quinn, who’s the subject of the book, and, and also Shan Shan Kali, I just, I just carry him in my heart every day. So well, we will be sure to put all of those links in the notes. And I thank you so much for just sharing your story. It’s so nice to meet like minded people getting to do these types of things. And I appreciate Kelly connecting us because it has been a really good hour of chatting away and I feel like it just flows so naturally, which is the point, you know, lessons, good conversation, so we’ll definitely have to stay in touch. Thanks so much. Thank you so much. I love it.