VHP of the Week: Kay Schaller

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DH: Share a bit about yourself and where you're from.

Kay: Well, my most important job is "mom" to Charlie and Louie (almost 11 and 13!) and Kya, our 7 year old Yellow Lab.  Married for nearly 20 years to Lou, and we have lived in Northwest Ohio for 10 years now.  This is where I was born, but years ago (in the late 1970's) I found myself traveling the States, ending up in Monterey, California for nearly a dozen years. We have also lived in Santa Barbara and Scottsdale, AZ, and I spent a short, but impressionable, stint in Central America ages ago.  My passions are being creative, whether it is writing, cooking, sewing, designing, or teaching.

DH: Tell us about your business or the company where you work, and how you got started.

Kay: Wow......how to summarize this?  My early work and career revolved around the arts.  In my late teens and early twenties, I studied Fiber Arts, Theater, and Life Sciences, working my way through college in the food and beverage industry. Eventually, I reluctantly sidelined the arts, realized I wasn't going to go to medical school, and took a leave of absence from college.  At this time I developed an appreciation for quality food and wine while working in a great French restaurant in Carmel, CA.  When I found my way back to school, I managed to marry my interests of performing, health and wellness, and quality food in my current career.  Specifically, I am a Family and Consumer Science Teacher (formerly known as "Home Economics") and teach Healthy Foods and Consumer & Financial Literacy to Junior High School students. It is my belief that quality teaching is part performance art and passion with one's field.  I even sometimes amaze myself with just how well my classes go!

DH: How do you deliver happiness to your employees, customers and/or colleagues?

Kay: I remember something I heard Oprah Winfrey say many years ago, something like: Your children should see your face light up when they enter the room.  This idea left a HUGE impression upon me, and this is how I greet my own children each day, and also how I strive to begin every class.  I teach nearly 300 eleven to thirten year old kids every year, and I am mindful of the fact that Junior High is not always the greatest place for all kids.  I try every dayto "channel" the best, positive (sometimes goofy) energy I can for all of my students.  I want kids to feel like my room is a warm, friendly and safe environment that is also a FUN place to be.In addition, I have a great relationships with many of my colleagues, we share treats (read: dark chocolate) simple fun practical jokes, and now, with the advent of DHTHM NW Ohio, we have a whole new platform where we can begin to build relationships with love and fun.

DH: How did you discover the Delivering Happiness Movement? 

Kay: I discovered the book Delivering Happiness just shortly after it's release and jump to the top of the bestsellers lists through some random email (the wonders of Amazon??)  At the time, I was on a medical leave recovering from a particularly difficult surgery (diagnosed with breast cancer in Feb. 2009, spent the better part of 2 years in some sort of treatment phase or recovery.  Details on kaylynne50.wordpress.com.)   I had just received news I would be teaching a Drama class, yet again.  I love Drama, but technically, I'm not "qualfied" to teach it, plus it was just one more class to prepare for.....sigh.........I decided within about one minute of reading a description of DH on Amazon that I would get this book, and have kids read it, have kids LOVE it, and we would write a play based on the values Hseih published.  Of course, I had never written a play, much less tried to have kids read a book of this sort and then write a play about it....BUT it was an idea that wouldn't let go of me, and to make a long story short, it was an AMAZING success.  I could hardly believe that I was actually able to "pull it off"!  Both kids and teachers are still talking about it now, a year later.  Maybe one specific thing DH gave me was a really successful experience doing something totally by instinct, guided by vision.

DH: What about DH, the book and/or the movement, inspires you the most?

Kay: Gosh, there are so many, it's hard to think of just one thing.  In my Drama class, one of the plays we wrote took the 10 Core Values and rewrote them to reflect the students unique perspective, and I'll do the same.  I am inspired by: Deliver WOW through a little weirdness, and engage in passionate, creative pursuits.  

DH: Did DH nudge you towards making any changes in your life? If so, tell us more.

Kay: Well, I've been a student of "possibility thinking" for as long as I can remember, so I havn't really made any life changes based upon reading the book, but I have done something unique from my association with Delivering Happiness Town Hall Leaders.  I have recently started my own "Delivering Happiness Town Hall Meeting, North West Ohio".   I have never organized a group outside of school before and this is kind of an exciting venture for me.  We have only two meetings under our belt, and have identified a community need that our happiness and creative ideas can improve.  I am very excited to see where the DH movement in NW Ohio will go in the coming months and years.

DH: Why is happiness important to you?

Kay: I've been happy and I've been sad, and I'll take happiness anyday.  In addition, I think there can be a glimmer of happiness even in some of the most trying of lifes circumstances.  It is all in what you choose to be your reality.  I think I first read this idea in Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer.  At that time, it was an idea that radically changed my life.

DH: What's your advice to someone who wants to start making happiness a priority but doesn't know where to begin?

Kay: Just start by doing one small thing for someone else to make them happy.....a good place to start is to choose someone who would least expect a kindness from you.  It could be a stranger, or better yet, someone you see on a regular basis in your daily life.  Maybe the clerk at the post office, the grocery store cashier, or secretary or custodian at your place of work.  Something small, yet something nice.   I like to surprise people with roses (they grow like crazy at my house) such a simple thing for me, yet something nice, thoughtful for the recipient.  I think the secret is: the shortest route to happiness is to give happiness to others.

DH: What’s your favorite happy and/or inspirational quote?

Kay: Gosh, I have so many, it is hard to choose.   I hope the following is not too long.  I wish I knew who wrote it.  I received this shortly before I was diagnosed with cancer, and this is the way I chose to live through a couple of difficult years.

The Power of Optimism:


  • Are never surprised by trouble
  • Value partial solutions
  • Believe they have control over the future
  • Plan for regular renewal
  • Have heightened powers of admiration
  • Interrrupt their negative trains of thought
  • Are cheerful even when they can't be happy
  • Have an almost unlimited capacity for stretching
  • Build plenty of love into their lives
  • Share good news
  • Accept what cannot be changed
  • Use their imaginations to rehearse success

DH: What's something weird that makes you happy?

Kay: New, pretty spatulas.  Although, I shared this at my first DHTHM, and since, I have received a few nice new spatulas.  Kinda wish I had mentioned a fancier happy-maker.  Another weird thing that makes me really happy is pasta.  Fresh Pasta.  Any kind of sauce.  Fresh Grated Parmesean Cheese.  Yummm......

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