Our lives are quite full. Often times, people are surprised to find out just how full!

Yes, Jeff and I show up and teach martial arts classes at Naga. These classes, these amazing students and families make our world go around. We love each and every one of our students, families, and yes, our former students and families too! We strive to be the best teachers we can be, to have integrity and keep a good balance of work and fun. Sometimes we actually succeed! I’m painting a pretty rosy picture here, but know we face myriad challenges too. We are pretty much open books, so if you want to know what keeps us awake at night, just ask!

Jeff runs a business with his brother. His dad died this past July, but up until then, he was also an integral part of the company. Dalton Management finds investors and purchases and manages apartment communities around the Northwest and the Bay Area. When Jeff isn’t driving to and from the Tri Cities, Salem, Corvallis, and Canby, he’s flying to and from California and Medford. He’s on the road!

A long time ago, Jeff told me that if he had to boil down what he does into one sentence, he’d say, “I solve problems all day long!” And that, he does! He also hires and manages over 50 employees, is a past president of Multifamily Northwest, started the fair housing committee, and is a well-respected leader in his field.

Aside from work, Jeff meditates and works out daily. He’s a good son and spent a lot of time with his dad as he faced a tough diagnosis of pancreatic cancer almost two years ago. His mom had a stroke four years ago which, among other things, took away her ability to speak. Jeff jumps in with both feet taking her to doctor’s appointments and running errands. And then there’s the hanging out watching football games and tennis.

Jeff is an amazing dad who shows up and is very present for his kids. He coached numerous soccer teams over the years and found ways to stay involved in our kids’ active lives. Recently he flew with my mom to Syracuse to spend time with our daughter, and took a motley crew to the Paul McCartney concert at the Dome. Jeff LOVES U2. Yes, he is a member of their fan club! We have two silly dogs who adore going for walks with him in Forest Park.

Aside from this, Jeff is a most excellent husband. You can tell how much I adore him. It sounds trite, but it’s true: I feel blessed to be his wife.

As for me, I run our school. That includes marketing, social media, keeping the website up and running, paying the bills, blogging, communicating, organizing, managing the space, payroll, and the myriad things that come up each and every day.

I am the current Secretary of the FBI Oregon CAAA, which involves board meetings, general meetings and helping organize events like the annual bowl-a-thon (which last year generated $11,000 for three groups that work with survivors of human trafficking.) We are an active body, and in alignment with the FBI for 2018, will be pull together 100+ backpacks filled with school supplies for low income kids, adopt homeless families for the holidays, serve a Thanksgiving meal to Transition Youth and help run the FBI’s summer camp and Citizen’s Academy Classes. I accepted a board position because I want to do something about human trafficking. In the past, this crew has worked hard to fund raise, but they’ve asked me to step up and help focus on education.

Several times a month, I teach self-defense, de-escalation or active shooter preparation classes to companies and organizations around the Portland area. This Wednesday, I’ll be at Marmoset Music in the Pearl. Last month I was at TriMet, and the month before that, worked with the Lawyers at the City of Portland. You can read more about the classes here.

Every quarter, I have a big weekend teaching Ladies’ Fight Night and Power Up! Self Defense classes. Lately, they’ve been selling out. I feel responsible to make sure I’m up-to-date and current, so I do lots of research, both reading and professional development, and am usually fried after these weekends, because I put my heart and soul into them. I appreciate it so much when students and Naga family members step in to help me out. I could not do it without you!

I also teach various self-defense workshops during non-Naga class times for girl scouts, mother/daughter groups, church groups, etc. I’m actively looking for apprentices who want to learn how to teach all of these classes, because I know I can’t keep doing these forever, and feel strongly that the work needs to continue.

I absolutely adore my kids. Emilia, 19, is a sophomore at Syracuse University, and Henry, 17, is a senior at Beaverton HS. Being a mom, there is always a lot to juggle, manage and oversee. Plus, I want time to just hang out, visit, listen and be together. You know what I mean! As my kids get older, the hands-on is less, but the emotional connection continues to grow and deepen. I love each and every second my kids permit me to spend with them!

Jeff and I have a strong solid marriage, which takes time and attention. We work hard to make it a good partnership, and so far, it’s working! We also like to hang out, take the dogs on walks, go on dates and do fun stuff like travel together.

I stay up too late reading the New York Times, doing crossword puzzles and watching Game of Thrones. I love chatting with and hanging out with my 91-year old dad and step-mom who live in DC and Florida. They are a hoot and we stay very close. My 85-year-old mom and her partner live across town and show up for their grandkids’ soccer games, theater productions, you name it. They are active and involved and we are lucky they love so close by!

So now you know a little bit about what Jeff and I do when we aren’t teaching at Naga!