happiness now

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.

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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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.

What Do You Value?

What Do You Value?

When you are contemplating a change or decision in your life, you may find yourself stuck and uncertain which direction to go. You may be uncertain which path is right for you or is in line with your highest good. Whether it is dealing with your job, relationship, money, health, or spirituality, we all have values whether you realize it or not.

 Once we get a clear understanding of our values in the area we are trying to make the decision, the decision becomes much clearer and easier to make.

Recently, I was trying to decide whether to continue a new relationship with an individual who lived outside of my state. We each shared similar relationship values which seemed to match up well. However, as we continued to get to know each other, from a distance, I started to feel anxious and my sleep began to be disturbed. These two signals and a few other items were a clear indicator that something was off about this relationship. I wasn't sure what it was, but I knew this relationship was causing some internal conflict.

How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

It’s easy to look at life and see what you don’t have. Not enough money, need a better car, job, life, etc. For some reason in the American culture, it is not as easy to be grateful as it is to complain about what is going wrong or what happened to us recently. Creating a daily practice of gratitude can change your life.

In an office, I used to work in, at the beginning of our bi-weekly staff meetings, I would have each attendee name one thing they were grateful for personally or professionally. Each person would take a piece of paper, write what they were grateful for and then say the gratitude aloud. We would then put the pieces of paper with the gratitudes written on them in a bucket. Doing this exercise changed the whole tone of the meeting in a positive way. You could see people relax, become happier, and show appreciation for people and things that they might have taken for granted had we not practiced this exercise.  At the end of the year, we would then revisit all the things we were grateful for over the year. It was such a positive and heart-warming experience.

Being grateful is not easy for everyone. I recall asking one colleague what they were grateful for and it was hard for them to come up with one single thing. I wondered what must be going on in this person’s life that they can’t find one thing positive in their life. If you too feel your life is in a similar situation, hopefully after you read this blog, you will find at least one thing to be grateful for.