Community//

Dr. Marni Hill Foderaro: “Stay true to your goals”

Writing books and publicly speaking your truth can be extremely daunting, especially for anyone who has experienced the fear that comes from surviving any form of Domestic Violence. My advice is to follow your gut instincts and stay strong in your truth. Practice self-care (with nutritious organic food, moderate exercise, restorative sleep and general pampering), […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Writing books and publicly speaking your truth can be extremely daunting, especially for anyone who has experienced the fear that comes from surviving any form of Domestic Violence. My advice is to follow your gut instincts and stay strong in your truth. Practice self-care (with nutritious organic food, moderate exercise, restorative sleep and general pampering), educate yourself, pay attention to others, research, be mindful, listen to music, get out in nature, breathe, meditate, pray and put your energies into achieving your goals, while staying true to your core values. As you grow in your awareness, you will find that there will be situations that no longer serve your higher purpose and there will be deceitful people, even lifelong friends and family, that betray you and do not have your best interests in mind. This may be a challenging time as you struggle with letting go of these trauma-bonds, but in time trust that these revelations will free yourself of negativity and room will be made for positive situations and honest people to come into your life.


As a part of our series about Inspirational Women of the Speaking Circuit, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Marni Hill Foderaro.

She is an award-winning educator and celebrated author. She earned her doctorate in education and completed postdoctoral studies at Harvard after a very successful and rewarding 35-year career as a high school special education teacher, with 12 years as a university adjunct professor. Foderaro is a lover of animals, nature, music and world travel. Foderaro handles life’s challenges with love and compassion. She values honesty, integrity, equality and goodness and prays for peace on earth. She was born in the South, raised her children in the Midwest and has made the Caribbean her home. Inspired by hundreds of true accounts, Marni’s critically acclaimed Spiritual fiction “God Came To My Garage Sale”, an award-winning finalist in the 2020 Best Book Awards sponsored by the American Book Fest, is about a questioning Atheist woman who experiences numerous Spiritually Transformative Encounters and has received praise from prominent endorsers, including James Redfield, bestselling author of “The Celestine Prophecy” series of books. Additional endorsements come from renown psychic mediums Thomas John, Lisa Williams and Christopher Stillar, along with founding directors of IANDS (International Association for Near Death Studies) Santa Barbara’s Barbara Bartolome and Chicago’s Diane Willis. Marni’s message encouraging all to be open to Spiritual signs and synchronicities while living in the present with mindfulness, compassion, peace, love and light is timely because “the veil is thinning” and people around the world are more open to God and the possibility of the Afterlife. In addition to her speaking engagements (including gracing the bLU Talks stage in 2021 at Columbia University in New York) and various writing endeavors on embracing Spirituality after surviving Domestic Violence, Narcissistic Abuse and Parental Alienation, Marni is a contributing author to numerous Best-Selling anthology books, including: “The Last Breath”, “The Evolution of Echo”, “The UltiMutt Book for Dog Lovers” and” bLU Talks Presents: Business, Life and the Universe.”


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up experiencing a relatively simple, comfortable and carefree Midwest childhood, in Lake Forest, Illinois, a North Shore suburb of Chicago. I was a happy, creative and fun-loving girl who enjoyed school and participated in numerous extracurricular activities. I was raised without any significant exposure to organized religion or Spirituality, rather with a deep appreciation for nature, equality, world travel and humanity. As a hard worker who was driven to be independent, I graduated from high school a year early and moved away from home to begin attending college. Even though as a teen I experienced the traumas of my parents’ extremely bitter divorce, it wasn’t until many years later that I understood that my story began and continued with intergenerational Domestic Violence. I followed in my parents’ footsteps and became a teacher and then later an author. I find writing and speaking help me make sense of my life’s experiences and is extremely healing, and at the same time hopefully inspiring to others.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

After retiring from my 35-year career as an educator I also chose to leave my abusive 27-year marriage after our children reached adulthood. I was shocked to find out that our beautiful suburban home with the quintessential white picket fence, which I was told was paid off for over a decade, was actually in foreclosure and that all of my savings and investments were suddenly depleted. The defining “light bulb” moment that changed the course of my life (and eventually my career path) happened over dinner when my ex informed our adult child that he withdrew from the bank over 10,000 dollars of our child’s hard-earned money, which led me to the discovery of his deceitful double life. I was shoved up against the wall and threatened: “Don’t you dare divorce me or I will take your house, your money and your children.” This was one promise that he kept. I take responsibility that for decades I blindly handed over my paycheck and trusted my ex with our family’s finances as I worked full-time, held a side job, earned an advanced degree, volunteered at our church and our children’s school and focused on everything family and home. It was clear after I escaped my marriage that I no longer was able to or even now wanted to live “the American Dream.” I needed to muster up all of my courage and strength to accept my circumstances, take back my life and forge ahead. As I began the process of physically shedding the extensive material remains of my accumulated memories, hopes and dreams, I had a garage sale that also energetically changed my life, inspiring me to write my award-winning Spiritual fiction “God Came To My Garage Sale.” Little did I know that I was about to embark on a Spiritual Awakening which included experiencing numerous Spiritually Transformative Encounters that would forever change my thoughts about our existence on earth: life, death and the Afterlife. Despite the aftermath I found myself in, my soul was naturally and instinctively saturated with peace, love, light, forgiveness, happiness and optimism. I was in “survival mode,” but instead of hurt, anger, vindictiveness, revenge or despair, I had an overwhelming sense of calm and hope for my future. I found tremendous healing in processing my feelings and experiences through prayer and the written word, thus, the author in me was born. Recovering from Domestic Violence, Narcissist Abuse and Parental Alienation is a process and I am now slowly finding my speaking voice in the hopes of inspiring others. The experience and voices of survivors matter and our words need to be read and spoken, despite how uncomfortable the conversation may be or the abuser’s direct or indirect efforts to silence you. Truth, compassion, goodness, peace and love will eventually prevail.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I would say that my journey as an author and speaker has connected me with some very amazing and interesting people; each encounter could be a story in itself. I have met some very prominent and other lesser-known psychic mediums that have endorsed my book “God Came To My Garage Sale” after meeting me, giving me readings and then later my validating their information. They witnessed my response to some very catastrophic life events by my choosing to see the good in these life lessons and to take the high road. Canadian psychic medium and author of “Pennies From Heaven: A Medium’s Two Cents on Life and Death” said, “Spiritual Awakenings can happen anywhere, at anytime, to anyone and usually when one least expects it. Quite often it is a result of living through life’s all-to-real hardships that people find their inspirational truths and clarity. Dr. Marni Hill Foderaro brilliantly takes the reader on a journey of truth and clarity through relatable scenarios of everyday life that we, the reader, can totally, easily and personally connect with.” My path also crossed with Michigan-based evidentiary psychic medium Lea Mittel who stated, “Dr. Marni Hill Foderaro, through her character’s honesty, strength, insight and open awareness very positively and eloquently articulates that Divine light comes out of earthly darkness, hardships and challenges, and that Spiritual synchronicities exist through the relatable common.” Before my writing and speaking career I would never have given any credence to anyone who said they could communicate with those that have passed on, but after experiencing numerous spot-on accurate readings where I was told things that nobody else would know and couldn’t be researched, my mind was opened up to this new realm.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I went to a great deal of coordination and effort to take the early morning train from the suburbs of Chicago to the heart of the city for a weekend writer’s conference, just to get to the venue and realize that I had written the date wrong on my planner. The lesson I learned was to double-check my calendar!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am very grateful to my amazing life partner Rick who is extremely supportive and was instrumental in my success as an author and speaker. He restored my faith in the goodness of others and encouraged me to search within my soul to find my purpose and passion. Rick and I came into each other’s lives at a very significant and synchronistic time for both of us. Our values of honesty, goodness and integrity and our love for nature and world travel were aligned from the beginning of our relationship. Rick is empathetic, kind, intelligent, resourceful and understanding. He has brought so much love, laughter and light into my life. Rick has challenged me to open up my eyes to perspectives I would not have seen otherwise. We travelled the world together, eventually choosing to move to the beautiful and interesting Caribbean, a breathtakingly gorgeous locale to work and play, where he can explore his enthusiasm for scuba diving and astronomy and I can evolve as a writer and speaker. I can honestly say that I feel blessed to have found my soulmate, as his wisdom and our Spiritual connection is solid.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging and intimidating. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Writing books and publicly speaking your truth can be extremely daunting, especially for anyone who has experienced the fear that comes from surviving any form of Domestic Violence. My advice is to follow your gut instincts and stay strong in your truth. Practice self-care (with nutritious organic food, moderate exercise, restorative sleep and general pampering), educate yourself, pay attention to others, research, be mindful, listen to music, get out in nature, breathe, meditate, pray and put your energies into achieving your goals, while staying true to your core values. As you grow in your awareness, you will find that there will be situations that no longer serve your higher purpose and there will be deceitful people, even lifelong friends and family, that betray you and do not have your best interests in mind. This may be a challenging time as you struggle with letting go of these trauma-bonds, but in time trust that these revelations will free yourself of negativity and room will be made for positive situations and honest people to come into your life.

What drives you to get up everyday and give your talks? What is the main empowering message that you aim to share with the world?

My drive, motivation and inner strength come from being a passionate truth seeker. I challenge others to open up their soul and be Spiritually aware of the universe’s signs and synchronicities, to live with integrity and to strive for goodness, honesty, peace and love.

Can you share with our readers a few of your most important tips about how to be an effective and empowering speaker? Can you please share some examples or stories?

I would say that it’s important to know your truth and be mindful with your words so that you clearly communicate the message you want to impart to your readers and listeners. This is not always an easy task, but with practice and experience you get better at achieving this. With all of my writing and speaking endeavors, I have put a great deal of time and effort into writing, editing and rewriting then writing, editing and rewriting again, up to 20 times!

As you know, many people are terrified of speaking in public. Can you give some of your advice about how to overcome this fear?

Remember the Brady Bunch “Driver’s Seat” episode where Mike, the father, tried to calm his daughter Jan’s nerves about public debate speaking and gave the advice to imagine the audience in their underwear? Well, that never worked for me. My advice is to be authentic and emphasize connecting with and engaging the audience as you would a personal friend, as opposed to lecturing content. Your passion, personal challenges and relatability can draw people in. When you are speaking your truth, you will naturally be more comfortable. In addition, from my experience as a teacher, I have also found that a multi-sensory approach to speaking, with mixed media including audio and visuals, can help put you at ease and get your message across.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Write for yourself: When you start to put your thoughts onto paper for any writing or speaking endeavor, do not initially be concerned about tailoring your message for a particular group or audience. Focus on what information or wisdom you would like to impart and then you can tweak your content and approach later.

2. Be relatable to others: People want to read or hear from someone who understands them and can possibly provide information to improve their own lives.

3. Use concrete imagery and examples when you write or discuss abstract ideas: Doing this will help the audience visualize and relate to what you have to say.

4. Share your challenges: Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerabilities or weaknesses, but be sure to illustrate how you were able to overcome challenges. Your audience will realize that you are not perfect and will relate to you more.

5. Stay true to your goals: Accept compliments and constructive criticism, but don’t let others dictate your end result as that is ultimately your decision.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

I feel that writers and speakers should take time to find their niche by exploring various genres and platforms. I was once advised by a childhood friend to “brand” myself and stick to one primary message as opposed to “clouding it” with other information or topics. At first I thought this suggestion was well-intentioned, but I have since realized she was misguided and for whatever reason was encouraging me to limit myself. Topics are not black-and-white and ideas, like life itself, are multifaceted and can be better understood through the gray. It’s okay that an artist, for example, dabble in traditional art mediums such as oils, water colors, charcoal, pastels, and pencils, but it is equally acceptable for that same artist to create three-dimensional artworks and sculptures in stone, glass, plastic, wood and clay. After writing my award-winning Spiritual fiction, “God Came To My Garage Sale” I was a co-author in four best-selling non-fiction anthology books: “The Last Breath,” “The Evolution of Echo,” “The Ulti-MUTT Book for Dog Lovers” and “bLU Talks Presents (Business, Life and the Universe.” I have started working on a prequel and a sequel to “God Came To My Garage Sale” making this a trilogy series, however I am currently immersed in writing a book of poetry entitled “True Deceit False Love: A Poetry Collection of Surviving Domestic Violence, Narcissist Abuse and Parental Alienation.” Expressing your thoughts and ideas creatively using a variety of methods can be extremely healing for yourself and inspiring for others.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

Self care can take on a variety of forms and is unique for each person. The goal is to do something tangible and intentional to encourage you to feel centered, balanced and rejuvenated. To me it’s about nurturing my mind, body and Spirit to improve my emotional, physical and Spiritual health. I take care of my body with nutritious foods, moderate exercise and restorative sleep. On a daily basis I practice gratitude and set my intentions through meditation to be in alignment with my core values and goals. Reading and writing are very therapeutic activities for me and help me make sense of the world, life’s challenges and my personal struggles. I also utilize my home spa, enjoy aromatherapy with essential oils and love to soak in hot epsom salt baths. I am fortunate to live on a Caribbean island, so I immerse myself in the beauty and sensory wonderland of our natural world, which includes regularly walking barefoot on the sand, soaking up the sun (responsibly, of course) and swimming in the ocean.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have resonated with many different quotes during various times in my life and evolvement. As a truth seeker slowly finding my voice, I currently connect with a statement by fearless anti-lynching crusader, suffragist, women’s rights advocate, writer and speaker Ida B. Wells-Barnett who said: “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I wish all people on earth to live in love, with truth, compassion, peace and harmony.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I would love to have lunch with my late mother, Elizabeth Ann Waldenmaier Hansen, but unfortunately people who have transitioned to Heaven can’t be “tagged.” I admire my mom as a genius writer and a beautiful, loving soul. It took me 60 years to realize it, but as a daughter, wife and mother, I believe she was a victim of family and marital Covert Malignant Narcissist Abuse and Parental Alienation. Times were different in her era and unfortunately she was not equipped with the tools and supports to right the wrongs against her. Domestic Violence has an intergenerational pattern that offers an explanation to why children exposed to emotional traumas are at a significantly increased risk of choosing a spouse that is also abusive, and the cycle continues. It is my hope that writing and speaking about this phenomenon will inspire others, even my own children, to understand this form of Domestic Violence and can encourage them to break the cycle and change the patterns and outcomes in their own lives. It’s important to acknowledge and understand the truth, but I believe it is vitally imperative to handle this awareness by making a conscious choice to live with love and compassion.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

To learn more about me and my writing projects, interviews and speaking engagements please visit my website www.godcametomygaragesale.com. I am also on Facebook and Instagram.

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!


    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Maciej Nicgorski / EyeEm/ Getty Images
    Wisdom//

    An Intentional System for Working with Goals

    by Leo Babauta
    Community//

    Improving Your People Skills

    by Ramin Kamfar
    Image via chris_tina/Shutterstock
    Work Smarter//

    4 Things to Give Up to Be Successful

    by Dean Graziosi

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.