In Memory of Betty Jo Peek (My Grandma)


The following words were read aloud at my grandmas funeral last week.

Betty Jo Peek (Grandma to many of us) was an intelligent and strong woman. She was the grandma you see on TV, she baked cookies, jarred jam, read us bedtime stories, and was always there to listen. When we visited grandma's house part of it felt like any other grandma's house but it was a little different than most.

You see, Betty and Malcolm owned a funeral home in Wanatah, Indiana. and the only thing that separated grandmas house and the funeral home was a single wall and door. Being the good grandma she was, she always kept sweet treats for her children and grandchildren to enjoy. The thing is, she kept them in the garage freezer. Now that may not seem like an obstacle to you but for us, it was. If we wanted to indulge in one of the delicious dreamsicles grandma would store in the garage, we had two options. The first was to go through that door from grandmas house, through the funeral home, to the garage. Moving through the dark, passing a prepared body, and the casket and the embalming room.
The other option, was to go outside in the cold, to the garage. For most of the grandchildren, we chose to take the journey through that single door. You may be thinking, you touch the door handle turn it, switch on the light and go. But it wasn't that simple. You see, the funeral home was very dark and the lights were not connected by one switch. You had to plan and determine your strategic route to the garage. Which light would you run to first, which would be second, and would you look at the body in the casket, if it was there, or run by with your closed eyes. while holding your breath You see, we really loved grandmas sweet treats. We had to work for those treats. But it wasn't a one-way trip. Once we finally made it to the garage, we had to turn and come back to grandmas! Being sure to turn off each light(you didn't want to run up the electric bill)  and hope we were not chased by a ghost or spirit in the room.


Grandma was known not only for her delicious desserts she was a highly intelligent and knowledgeable woman. If they offered a VIP card for patrons at her local libraries, she would have one. Betty Jo read books like others goes through a magazine. She could finish books in a few hours or a single day.  Her thirst for knowledge and to keep her mind active was evident to everyone who visited her home, where she always had a stack of books near her favorite chair. Over the last several years, she bonded with one of her grandchildren over the author Janet Evanovich and would discuss the merits of Stephanie Plum ending up with Joe Morelli or Ranger. They both agreed Ranger would be the more interesting choice. 


Betty Jo was always there if you needed her, by simply being present, providing financial support, or supportive words. Here are a few special memories and quotes from her grandchildren:

"When I was going through a tough time she gave me a big hug and told me "we just endure" that meant the world to me."

 "You can do things the easy way or the kind way".

She accepted all of her children and grandchildren no matter their life choices, mistakes, failures, or way of being that is not accepted by all. We were her family.

Betty Jo will be so dearly missed.

Betty Jo Peek is in the front row far left in the blue dress.

Betty Jo Peek is in the front row far left in the blue dress.

Having Trouble Sleeping? Learn tools and techniques for a better night’s sleep

Several years ago, I was preparing to apply to graduate school by taking classes during the day while working third shift as a sorter at UPS. Given my schedule, I was lucky to get five hours of sleep on a daily basis. I was chronically sleep deprived for a year and a half. I knew that my schedule was contributing to being sleep deprived, but I thought there may have been something more serious going on. For me, going to sleep is usually not a problem, but having an uninterrupted sleep is.

As a child, my mom would get nervous because she would hear me stop breathing during the night while I slept. To help fix the problem, I had my adenoids removed which seemed to help the issue. While working at UPS, I decided to take a sleep study to determine if I was merely sleep deprived, or if something more significant was going on. It was determined I have mild sleep apnea and that working third shift was not conducive to me getting a good night's sleep. While at the sleep center, I learned tips to help me sleep better, as well as train my body and mind. In addition to these general tips, I’ll discuss how hypnosis can help you with sleep issues.

Tip One: Create a nightly routine

As a parent, you create a routine for your child. You have them bathe, brush their teeth, and possibly read a bedtime story. These tasks are an excellent method that helps them go to sleep. Adults are no different than children in this respect. It would be helpful for you to have a nightly routine – to help you prepare your body for the habit of sleep. It could be a relaxing bath, read a few pages from a book, or meditate. Reflect on things that help your body to relax.

Tip Two: Don’t take naps in your bed

To keep your body trained to know when you lay in bed, that it is time to go to sleep, try to avoid taking naps in your bed. Find a couch or another place to nap to avoid confusing your body between naptime or bedtime.

Tip Three: Avoid caffeine & alcohol

You don’t have to give it up but pay attention to how late into the day you consume caffeine. If you are craving a cup of coffee late in the day, try half decaf and half regular, or choosing a less caffeinated tea. You may find that alcohol helps you go to sleep, but according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, once the alcohol has metabolized and left your bloodstream, it may interrupt your sleep. (

Tip Four: Journal before bed

If you are having trouble sleeping due to issue going on in your life, try to journal about them. Do you have a busy day ahead of you and just can’t seem to get your to do items out of your head? Write them down. Or, if you are having difficulty going to sleep because you are excited about…. Get the thoughts, feelings, and emotions out on paper, so you don't have to dwell on them while you are asleep.

Tip Five: Self-Hypnosis

I have shared some simple tips you can use to help get a better night's rest. I want to share a technique I use with clients during my hypnotherapy sessions that you can use for yourself. I utilize a method called “the control room”. The control room can be used for many things, and to be able to have a good night's sleep, is one of them. I will walk you through the process so you can use it on your own.


First, lie down and get comfortable. Look up to the ceiling and begin to count down from ten to one. With each number, you will open and close your eyes. When your eyes are open, you will focus on a spot on the ceiling.

10…. Close your eyes and feel a wave of relaxation come over you.

Open your eyes and close your eyes 9. Feel another wave of relaxation come over you.

Open your eyes and close your eyes 8. Feel another wave of relaxation come over you.

Open your eyes and close your eyes 7. Feel another wave of relaxation come over you.

Open your eyes and close your eyes 6. Feel another wave of relaxation come over you. Open your eyes and close your eyes 5. Feel another wave of relaxation come over you. Feel another wave of relaxation come over you.  Open your eyes and close your eyes 4. Feel another wave of relaxation come over you.  Open your eyes and close your eyes 3. Feel another wave of relaxation come over you.  Open your eyes and close your eyes 2. Open your eyes and close your eyes 1. Feel another wave of relaxation come over you.

Now imagine a control room in your mind. In the control room, there are levers, buttons, and dials. Ask your subconscious mind to adjust any levers, buttons, or dials, that are preventing you from having a good night’s rest. Ask your subconscious mind to change any other leavers, buttons, or dials that would be in your highest good. (E.I. reduce stress, relax, happy button, etc.)

You can use this technique anytime you would like to have a better night’s sleep. You have the power within yourself to make this change.

Check out this video to see the control room technique in action. In the video below, you will see how I helped a client reduce stress and utilized the control room technique for a better night’s sleep. (The control room technique begins @ 7:21 minutes in the video)

If you would like assistance to have a better night’s sleep, give me a call! For a free 15-minute consultation, please call 619.880.7010.







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Make Life Easier On Yourself! Tips for making tough decisions

During the weeks leading up to my travels from Indiana to California, I made a few choices - some good and some not so good. On May 31, 2009, my lease ended two weeks before I was scheduled to leave for my road trip.  Instead of asking my property manager if I could stay two weeks longer and pay a prorated rent, I asked a friend if I could stay with her for free in an effort to save a little money. Staying with my friend meant I had to move my belonging from my apartment to storage while keeping a few things for the next few weeks before my trip out west. My friend owned a three-bedroom house and hadn’t lived with a roommate for some time.  After a few days staying with her, I came home to find her having a mini melt-down because she couldn’t take a having another person staying at her house. Since I had already given up my apartment, I needed to find another place to stay. Thankfully a friend of mine said I could stay with him.  I was happy I had a place to stay, but this meant another move.  Looking back, I realized my original decision to move out of my apartment two weeks before my road trip wasn't the best decision I have ever made, but we all go through times like this and… I look back at the situation and think, why didn’t I stay in my apartment and pay the extra rent. Was saving a few hundred bucks worth it? The answer is unequivocal, “no!”


One day, when trying to make a similar decision, a  close friend of my said, "Tamara, why don’t you make life easier on yourself?” I now take this wisdom with me whenever I go. That doesn’t mean I always take the easy path, but if there is a choice that is easy and in line with my highest good, I’m ready for that route. 

I see many people choose paths, be it a big decision or a little one, that doesn't make life easier for them or others.  One choice that blows my mind  is when people, who have a decent amount of possessions, chose to move their residence without renting a moving truck. Instead, they ask family and friends, who have vehicles, to help move.  The process then requires several trips to and from the new residence and loading and unloading the truck. I once saw my neighbor move with only a pickup truck for a day and a half. It looked so exhausting an inefficient.  Had they taken the time to rent a U-Haul, they could have finished the job in about two hours and saved time and possibly money (gas prices) for everyone. I believe his friends would have like a move that took two hours versus a day and a half of moving.

Why do we make these decisions that make our lives more complicated?

For me, deciding to move out versus stay was all about saving money. I grew up in a household where money was not discussed positively. I repeatedly heard "money doesn't grow on trees," "I don't have any money," or "we can't afford that." Hearing this as a child, I developed some beliefs about money that may not have been the healthiest.  Even though today, I still love to get a great deal, I have learned that saving money at all costs, is not always the best choice. I learned that sometimes its okay to pay for convenience if it reduces stress and gives me more free time.  To work with  my beliefs about money was not an easy task, I  completed self-hypnosis, took financial related courses  like Financial Peace University with Dave Ramesy, Financial Abundance with Summer McStravick, and 24 Hours of Abundance with Christie Marie Sheldon. I haven’t completely rid myself of the negative beliefs about money but I have made tremendous progress.  Here are some tips you can use to make better decisions.


 Tip 1- Good old Pros and Cons

One of my favorite techniques to use with clients, when making a decision, is creating a pros and cons lists. It doesn't tell you what to do, but it will provide you possible outcomes of each choice. I recommend creating your lists with an objective third party to create a thorough list. Sometimes when we are not able to be objective or possesses hidden beliefs, it prevents us from making the best decision.

Recently I was helping a client to make a decision between two job offers. He wanted me to tell him what the right decision was, but I knew that wasn’t in his best interest. Each job offer had its own pros and cons. Before coming to me, he had made up his mind regarding which job he preferred, but after speaking to some colleagues, he became even more confused, and didn’t know what to do. He decided to consult me, and… together, he and I wrote a pros and cons list for each decision.  After creating the list, it was clear one offer was a better fit, because it clearly had more qualities that fit in the pro category. Although the decision with fewer advantages had one major one, it had too many drawbacks. Working through this process allowed him to validate what he felt was the right decision in the beginning.

Tip 2: Write a list of things you want


Before you decide between two things, write or type a list of the things you would desire. For example, if you are looking for a new job, write out a list of things you’d like to obtain in your next position. Do you want to work for a large or medium size company? How much money do you want to make? Do you want to supervise people or be an independent contributor? Do you want autonomy or do you like more specific direction? Do you want a collaborative work environment or to work solo? Once you have your list put together, you can then compare your list with the offers you have been given.  You can then determine which decision is more in line with your goals and values. You can use this method in many types of decisions.

I recently used this with a client who didn't feel like she was dating the right guy.  I asked the client to create a list of her ideal mate including personality, features, and how she would feel with him. Before the list, she was selecting men simply by her feelings, which was not working well. versus whether possessed the type of qualities she would looking for in a mate. Now that she has a list, she can objectively determine if the guy possesses her desired traits before getting emotionally involved with someone who is not compatible.

Tip 3: Meditate, pray, or use some self-hypnosis

I once heard a story about a person who was about to buy their dream home. The house had everything this person wanted, but something inside her said, “don’t buy this home!” On the surface, it was beautiful; it checked all the boxes from her wish list - great neighborhood, good price, etc. However, she just couldn’t shake this nagging feeling that buying the house was a wrong decision. She trusted her gut and did not buy the house. A few weeks later there was a flood in the neighborhood,  and the house she almost bought was significantly damaged. Had she bought the house, she would have had a brand-new home with a damaged home. Not the welcome home most people desire.

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Sometimes making decisions through a logical or analytical process is not the best choice for us. Occasionally, even the most logical decisions look good on paper, but your gut tells you otherwise. Trust this instinct! If you meditate, pray, or utilize hypnosis, you can go within and ask for guidance.  You could ask for the answer to come right now, to unfold over the next few days, weeks, months, or to be shown signs for the best decision.

Many times, the universe tells us when we are making a decision that is not in line with our highest good. The universe will continue to put obstacles in our way to give us an opportunity to reflect and say, “is this the right decision?” Have you ever noticed when you'd made a decision that is in line with your highest good, how things just fall into place, even when they seemed impossible? I knew a friend who was recently divorced. He and his wife were looking to buy a home in California, but never were able to find the right home or the right deal. The housing market was at an all-time high and was a seller’s market. He was financially unstable, due to debt from his marriage,  alimony, and child support. Each time he tried to look at a home, apply for a mortgage, or move forward, he faced a roadblock. A few months later, he learned he would be relocated to the east coast. This is an example of…If you continuously face barriers, it may be a sign that you are not on the right path.

If you have noticed patterns in your life where you would like to make better decisions, but something inside you is preventing you from doing so, hypnosis can help. Through hypnosis, you can find mental blocks or unhealthy beliefs that are preventing you from moving forward. There are several processes that can be utilized to move past these beliefs including regression to cause, neurolinguistics programming, and emotional freedom technique.

It's time to make life easier for yourself.

Tamara Small  - Happiness Now  - Hypnotherapist & Career Coaching

Schedule your free 15-minute consultation today!


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Does it Take a Tragedy to Make Us Change?


Recently, my father was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. As you could imagine, many things must have raced through his head after hearing such a diagnosis. He had a couple options; he could decide life was over and stop living or he could “take the bull by the horns” and live every moment like it was his last. Since my dad’s diagnosis, he has chosen to live life by spending time doing the things he wants to do. Most recently, he has taken two trips to Florida one of his favorite places. Each time we speak, I encourage him to do the things he loves. Pre-cancer, he would likely have chosen to work versus take two trips to Florida.  It’s not uncommon to hear of something tragic being a pivotal turning point.

In life, we all face trials and tribulations; it is not what happens to us but how we deal with it and look at the situation. A divorce, death, affair, cancer, drug addiction… to name just a few. When something negative happens, do you ask why me and become a victim? Or, do you take this as an opportunity to grow and reinvent yourself?

You see people who have made significant differences in the world after major tragedies for instance John Walsh hosted America’s Most Wanted and helped solve several cases after experiencing the tragic loss of his son Adam. Brad Snyder, US Navy veteran, became a Paralympic gold medalist after losing his sight during active duty. Brad was a keynote speaker at a conference I attended a few years ago. Seeing someone go through such a traumatic event but persevere anyway, is truly inspiring.

The examples above are things that happen to these individuals, but what about when we are personally sabotaging our own success?

A friend of mine, we will call her Theresa, struggled with alcoholism for five years. After a night of heavy drinking, she came to work intoxicated.  Because she was at work and noticeably under the influence, she was sent home and given a final written notice. She was advised that if she came to work with any traces of alcohol in her system in the future, she would be fired.  Due to the fear of losing her job, she began to attend Alcohol Anonymous (AA) and tried to get help. A month or two later, she came to work again with alcohol on her breath. She knew the consequences of these actions, yet she came to work under the influence of alcohol anyway. She was put on administrative leave until the official decision was made regarding her employment. During the next two weeks, her life spiraled apart.  She gave up on life, drank excessively, and almost killed herself by consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Don’t worry; this story does have a happy ending.

Why did it take death knocking on her doorstep for her to make permanent, lasting changes? Why is it that sometimes life needs to kick us in the pants for us to make significant changes?

For me, and I am sure for many others, it is hard when we see friends or family going down the road to self-destruction. Is it because they are in denial or not ready to make the changes necessary to get out of the situation? It is likely that they are in one of the early stages of the change model.

The Transtheoretical Model of Change

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According to the Transtheorectical Model of Change, we move through several stages when making transformations in our lives. By learning the model and phases, you can save yourself time, heartache, anxiety, and stress.

Here are a few quick definitions of the stages of change.


The individual may or may not know there is an issue. He/she is generally not at a stage where an action will be taken. It is likely Theresa didn’t realize how  alcohol had affected her life both personally and professionally. She received the written warning but did she understand the gravity of the situation.


The individual may realize there is an issue and are contemplating the pros and cons of change, but still are not ready for it. After Theresa received the final written warning, it is likely she was weighing the pros and cons of drinking and not drinking again.


The individual knows there is an issue and decides to research and learn about options he/she can take to make the change. It is likely he/she will be ready to make the change soon. After Theresa went on a week-long bender, she knew it was time to get help. She lost her job, and her marriage was in jeopardy. She began to research alcohol rehab treatment centers and knew she had to make significant life changes.


The individual is committed to making a change and taking determined efforts to produce the desired change. Theresa entered a 30+ day alcohol treatment center when she could get sober, improve her health, and obtain counseling services.


The individual develops a plan to maintain the positive change he/she has successfully made. Theresa regularly attends AA, outpatient counseling, and does not drink alcohol.


The individual reverts to the old behavior he/she has been abstaining from over the past several days, months, or years. It is a standard stage of change. If Theresa had a relapse, she will start over into the action phase. Perhaps, she could speak with her sponsor to help her get back into the maintenance phase.

Theresa has gotten her life back on track. She has a new job; her health is better than it has been in years. As a result, she has managed to lose 25 pounds and her marriage is on the way to being repaired.  She is happier than she has been in years!

Can you identify with Theresa, or is there something in your life that you’d like to change? In our society, we are quick to give people labels or take possession of temporary states. “She is an alcoholic”, “He has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)”, “She has anxiety”, or “He has depression, which he’ll have the rest of his life”.

Through my study of hypnosis and neuroplasticity, I have learned that alcohol use, anxiety, or vices like sugar addictions are habits we use to cope with underlying issues, not who we are. If you stop drinking, you are no longer an alcoholic, you are a person who had a drinking problem. A young lady, who I went to high school with, was a drug user. She became pregnant and stopped using for the health of her baby. After being sober for some time she said, “I now remember why I used drugs, I don’t like myself very much”. The drugs were a coping mechanism that she used to distract herself from the true issue at hand.

If you’d like to make changes in your life, a good starting place is evaluating your emotional health. Through hypnotherapy, we can help you deal with past emotions and navigate through the stages of change to achieve the life you desire. In a hypnosis session, there are several techniques we can use to deal with your emotional health. Regression is a common tool that is used to go back to the initial sensitizing event. Other tools like the Meta pattern, allow us to visit other triggering events without having to relive the initial trauma. The tool that is used is based on the clients and their needs.

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It Made Me Feel Like I had the Flu!

It Made Me Feel Like I had the Flu!

Two weeks ago, I hurt my back and was in tremendous pain. So much so that I asked my colleagues to call an ambulance because I couldn’t move off the floor without immense pain. To move me, the EMT’s had to give me morphine which I was grateful to have. Sometimes western medicine is necessary and appreciated.  I do, however, think that occasionally western medicine can be more harmful than good. Back in 2012, I broke my leg and had to have surgery to insert a plate on the fractured bone for it to heal correctly. After the surgery, I felt like I had the flu for a week. Merely brushing my teeth took every ounce of energy I had.  I mentioned this feeling and lack of energy to my doctor, and he stated that sometimes Anastasia stays in your body for a few days and it should go away. Nine months later, the plate in my leg was causing problems and needed to be removed.

You Don’t Have to Suffer

You Don’t Have to Suffer

Being in the hypnosis field has changed the way I listen and hear conversations with family, friends, and clients. Over the past month, I have encountered individuals who have severe phobias around driving. It breaks my heart to hear people who have suffered through this fear in a country where driving is almost a must. In some countries, public transportation is very efficient and useful, but if you don’t live in Chicago or New York, it’s likely you will need to drive or be driven to places. Guess what?! You don’t have to suffer! It is possible to get rid of a phobia in as little as 10 minutes.

Happy New Years! What Does 2018 Have In Store For You?

Happy New Years! What Does 2018 Have In Store For You?

For some 2017 was full of changes and challenges, and many people couldn't wait for the year to end. 2018 brings hope for a better year in love, relationships, career, finances, and home. How your year will be is not determined by what happens in your life but by how you react to life's events. Have you ever experience the phenomenon when you buy a new car (or another item) and as soon as you take it home you begin to see the car everywhere? You don't consciously try to look for your automobile, but you do it anyway. This same principle can happen with seemly positive or negative items. You can choose to watch for positive things in your life or negative ones.