Katie’s connection to Laurie Feltheimer was immediate. When Laurie described being a single mom — struggling to make ends meet and appreciating nice things but not being able to afford them — Katie could definitely relate. Katie says, “My beautiful mother, Charlotte, was also a single mom, and I saw her struggle every day, but in spite of all of that, she loved unconditionally, and always made me feel special. Even though we didn’t have much, we had all that matters…each other.” Katie grew up in a small town, and lived with her mom, loving grandparents and her severely disabled brother who sadly died at 16 when Katie was 12. He was born with Cerebral Palsy, but his soul and his love were the bright spots in their lives. Katie’s father was a physically abusive alcoholic, and her parents divorced when she was 18 months old. And, although she grew up without a father, she never lacked for love. She says her mother had the most generous spirit and taught her to, “Always give what you can — and then dig a little deeper and give a little more.”
When Katie was 18 years old, she married, Dale — the love of her life (and high school sweetheart!) — and they have been married for 45 years. They lived a military life, as Dale was career Air Force. He is retired now, and they live in Spokane, WA where he is a Human Resource Manager for a construction company and spends his days championing for the fair working conditions of the guys in the field. They have a son, Chris, and two beautiful grandchildren, Kaleb, 18, and Shei, 15. Katie is determined to share this incredible Heartfelt Role Model experience with her granddaughter, Shei, in order to teach her about positive body image and shine light on the true value of inner beauty.
Katie spent much of her adult life being a caregiver. And, caring for her husband, son, aging mother and her brother-in-law who suffers from a traumatic brain injury, left Katie little time for herself. She became depleted and found it difficult to prioritize herself. She felt lost. She gained a lot of weight, and she felt as if every day she was treading water, just trying to stay afloat. Consequently, she didn’t feel pretty and began to have daily, negative conversations with herself — conversations she feared would be impossible to dismiss.
And then one night, she saw Laurie on QVC. Laurie mentioned the Heartfelt Facebook community, and Katie felt compelled to join. This was the night that,“changed my life forever,” she says. At first, Katie sat back and watched the community. She quietly observed confident women, women being vulnerable, and women supporting each other. She began reading the beautiful things these women were saying to one another, and delighting in and celebrating even the smallest things about one another. Katie began to gain strength from them — strength she didn’t think she had anymore. She saw women who were, “fierce and fabulous, understanding yet vulnerable — each taking a turn to lift one another up.” She says you can tell that it’s genuine, that the women really care about each other. Katie marvels at the Heartfelt community and believes, “It is empowerment through kindness.”
Katie is starting to believe in herself again. She never thought it could happen so quickly and through social media of all places — even her husband has commented on the change he sees in her. Katie hopes to pay this new-found gift forward, and she delights in the opportunity to encourage other Heartfelt women to be vulnerable too, to empower themselves too and to be inspired to shine their lights as well. She is even inspired to finish the children’s book she is writing called, “The Light in my Grandmother’s Window.”
Katie, you truly embody the heart behind Heartfelt. We are grateful for your strength and positivity in the community and can’t wait to read your children’s book!