Meet Our Members

What’s your sunshine? What inspires you to want to stretch, grow, be your best, and feel your best? What’s your vision for what’s possible for humanity? And how does your life contribute to that possibility?

These are really big questions, and when we come from our hearts, the answers help us understand what’s most important to us. We each begin to lead our lives more deliberately, guided by core values, vision, and our unique gifts. The tiniest things we do begin to make sense in our lives, and we become more wholehearted as we contribute to creating Planet Joy!

ALL of our members who are spotlighted here have ONE thing in common: DEEP PRACTICE of the JBL principles and ideas which come from working knowledge of the our foundational E-books (you can find them at the home page).

Member’s Spotlight. We’d love to spotlight you too!

In random order. (Members from 2016 helped us launch Joy-Based Living.)

Juli Jordan, Member of JBL since 2016, from Mentone, Alabama

Juli LOOOVES dogs, nature, art and design. She created a Fairy Portal Art installation called “Little Things are Big Things” for our JBL art exhibit in Tampa in 2020. She also led the Fairy Tales interview with Little River Arts Council in 2021. She’s a creative collaborator and sponsor of Joy-Based Living events. She and her husband rent cabins at Hoot Owl Hollow.

“Through JBL, I learned the skills to be present with myself in a way that feels both comfortably grounded and fearlessly helpful and trusting. I am more truly myself than I have ever been and I feel this is just the beginning.”

Ellen E., Member of JBL since 2021, from Atlanta, Georgia

Ellen is an amazing mom for her 2 boys and their 2 dogs. She’s been a successful saleswoman for 20 years. She LOOOOVES music, movies, writing, running and traveling. While learning the JBL 12 Practices, she began sharing them with her kids and creating mantras. She co-authored our mini-festo: We Are a Joy-Based Household.

Doing the JBL practices, my life has transformed in every way. I have no chronic illness, my digestion is completely normal for the first time in my life, my hair is growing back fully and healthy, I am off anti-depressants, I sleep very well at night, and I feel a sense of peace and joy in my life that I never knew was possible. I have literally learned a new language of emotional literacy within an online community and I feel like a different person. Joy Based Living is the most comprehensive, cutting edge, loving safe space for healing available today.

deJoly LaBrier, Member of JBL since 2016, from Mentone, Alabama

deJoly is a walking miracle who used art and therapy to heal from deep trauma. After healing, she has generously shared her wisdom with many others. A master quilter. An author of a few books about healing trauma. She LOOOOVES God, prayer and native American spirituality. She adores her dog and her garden. She uses activism to raise her voice for people who need support. She offers kind acts of service whenever she can. Her website is www.dejoly.com.

“When Debbie Happy Cohen and I first met, we talked about creating something that had been missing from our lives: a community in which authentic conversations, compassion and joy were the centerpiece. Within a short time, Joy-Based Living emerged as a safe place where like-minded/hearted people could live fully in their authentic selves. Where there was guidance through the practices to reach the fullness of joy that inexplicably comes with freedom to be whoever I am. I appreciate this community so much as a container that is always full of love, joy, encouragement and a willingness to hear my heart, wherever I am in the moment. It is the one place I can go to find my wounds and process them to be healed. It is definitely a safe place to learn, heal, cry, laugh, dance and be true to myself.”

Jennifer Houdeshell, Member of JBL since 2020, from Tampa, Florida

A professional artist. An activist who uses her leadership and her art to help stop sex trafficking and raise awareness of social justice issues. A grandmother who LOOOOOVES her children, her grandchildren and her two rambunctious kitties. “I believe in commitments: to God, to my beloved family, and to my work which is my affirmation of life and the power of love. Art is a spiritual link with my Creator. It is the lilting, haunting melody which leads me through my life both in times of sunshine and of shadow. Sometimes it dances joyously, bright and free. Sometimes, it is more subtle, submerged beneath life’s demands, but like an underground river of pure water that sustains and refreshes.” View her work at this link.

Linda Selby (aka Ladybug), Member since 2020, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Linda Selby, aka Ladybug. Wife of John, the extraordinary cook. Mother of Dexter, the extraordinary cat. Loves gardening, music, dancing, yoga, meditation, making all kinds of things, hiking, hanging out with rocks & trees, good books (esp. science fiction), good movies & good food. Retired from a long career in nursing in order to spend more time doing all those things she loves. Created the artwork for the JBL Planner cover & the illustration for the JBL Trifecta Ship.

“In September 2020, I discovered Debbie Happy Cohen sitting on the brow of the mountain in Mentone, Alabama. That was the day that my adventure in Joy Based Living began; a quest for an extraordinary life of growing joy & connection.”

Lisa C, Member since 2021, from the United Kingdom

In the words of her husband, Lisa is the most hard-working mommy on the planet, a wonderful cook who focuses on the nutritional benefits, and a fun-loving lady who enjoys zumba, latin and ballroom dancing and salsa dancing. And Lisa is the proud owner of Debbie’s fantastic artwork: “Love is in the air”.

“Joy Based Living gives me the strength to enrich each day with a powerful methodology and intelligent structure to lead me down the path to happiness. I am happy to support JBL so that together we can get the message out to as many people as possible to lift them out of shame, powerlessness and depression and get them up the emotional ladder spreading joy, appreciation, freedom and love.

Catarina De Hoyos, Member since 2016 from San Antonio, TX and St. Petersburg, FL

I am a devoted mama of a teenaged boy with autism, a dancer, a home chef and a beauty consultant. My mission is for all women to feel beautiful.

Joy-Based Living is a place where I can blossom into anything I wish to be. I am safe, loved and appreciated. In turn, I can help other people also feel safe, loved and appreciated.

Vito Acosta, Member since 2016, from Bogotá, Colombia

Artist. Designer. Lover of nature, poetry, magic, deep psychology, travel and learning languages. Since she was a child, Vito has enjoyed communicating through the language of art. She says, “It’s the medicine I use to heal. What I yearn for is to share that medicine with others through my images. It’s the threshold that allows me to enter the depth of my soul and the depth of the universe.” Love for nature and love for art, combined, help her connect to something deep within and something higher.  You can link to her artwork here. Vito created the graphic concepts and the logos for Joy-Based Living, Wholehearted Networking and the Get Fairy Tales audiobook collection (written by Debbie Happy Cohen). She also created the beautiful cover art and illustrations for each of the fairy tales. Link to the Get Fairy Tales project here.

“In 2014, Debbie and I met and became close friends because we were able to have deep conversations that really matter. We started sharing our visions for humanity with each other and that led to collaborations on various projects. The first project we worked on was Get Fairy Tales. I have enjoyed participating in and witnessing the evolution of Joy-Based Living. I feel very proud of what I see right now on this page because I was there when JBL was born and I saw it evolve from scratch. I fondly remember our conversations about the name and the possibilities for JBL, even before it existed. We share a deep admiration and faith in each other. I also love connecting with the JBL community. The members provide a beautiful, safe space to have conversations that matter and that contribute to our evolution as human beings. Each and every member is sincerely committed to her own growth, freedom and joy.

Claudia Dose, Member since 2016, from Berkeley, California, born in Germany

Artist. LOOOOVES trees and raises money for reforesting. Long-time meditator. World traveler. US Citizen from Germany. Here’s her website. And here’s a link to the reforesting organization called Tree Sisters.

In 2016, when  Debbie first mentioned the term “joy based living” I felt resistance to the term deep inside. It made me think about the purpose of my life which always seemed more about having to do something, be it to learn lessons, or be a good person, useful to society or get enlightened etc. It seemed somewhat frivolous to me to base my life on the notion of joy. Where would we end up when everybody just did what gives them joy? Who would do the stuff that isn’t so much fun? 😉  Debbie explained that we are here to remind each other of our radiance and say “I believe in you (radiance)” even when we don’t yet see evidence of it. This is what we practice every day, within our community. “The workout is to remember our own radiance and not beat ourselves up for it when we don’t see it. It’s like meditation in action. Together with others!

Kimberly F., Member since 2020, from St. Petersburg, Florida

Kimberly is inspired by “small gatherings of people who want to do great things”. She LOOOVES beauty, art, poetry, philosophy, friendship and community. She enjoys Zen, wabi-sabi and Iki Gai. Kimberly calls her house “Casa Flora” and enjoys being surrounded by her lush garden. She LOOOOVES dancing and adores her well-trained, spitfire puppy. She enjoys the rhythms of a Mediterranean lifestyle, especially the cooking.

“At JBL, I am particularly inspired by the practices of TEA time and SPA (TEA stands for Time, Energy and Attention; SPA stands for Sovereignty, Power and Agency). Learning about Emotional Literacy and Embodiment within a community has provided me with a deeper understanding of myself and others. I now feel more grounded, balanced and connected in all areas of my life.

Heather Nicely, Member since 2016, from Mentone, Alabama

Heather lives in Mentone, Alabama. She was drawn here by the incredible natural beauty, a strong community, & vast protected wild areas of conservation. Heather has a passion for architecture, landscape design, art, exploring natural places, and a love of People. She’s worked in the fields of real estate, art, design, business, landscaping, waterscapes & home construction. In her free time you will find her immersed in creating art, enjoying the outdoors, gardening or spending quality time with her family & friends. Heather shares her life with her husband, Lyle, her two children Sierra and Orion, and Einstein, her four-legged terra-mutzu!

“Joy-Based Living is a gift to myself. By being open to doing the personal work and practicing strategies within a community, JBL has allowed me to break the bonds of old beliefs that once held me back in survival mode. The members at JBL continue to inspire me to write new stories for myself that allow me to grow and thrive in every area of my life.”

Amy Gregory, Member since 2016, from Austin, Texas

A long-time teacher who specializes in bilingual education, she sports a PhD in Spanish Linguistics. Amy LOOOOVES her family, especially her grandbaby and her dog! Her passions include teaching, traveling, dance, yoga, healthy living habits, and Spanish cultures. She co-authored the JBL Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum for elementary school teachers called Courage to Connect – Social Emotional Learning.

Michele Stone, Member since 2016, from Tampa, Florida

Artist. Art curator. Art promoter. International art teacher. Therapeutic Art Life Coach. Adores her son and parents with JBL ideals. Hosted the first Joy-Based Traveling Art Exhibit Courage to Connect: Networking for Joy. You can connect Michele and see her work at this link.

“Joy-Based Living has rocked my world. When we first began in the spring of 2016, I had no idea what was in store for me, the group, or the overall concept. Our Joy-Based Living tribe has collectively traversed through some of the muckiest emotional muck there is to drudge up, all with the end goal of feeling more Joy that we can even possibly imagine. If I were to compare it to anything, as an artist, I would like to offer a visual. Imagine standing Centre Stage of an Amphitheater, where you are TRULY SEEN and supported in the most loving authentic, and organic way, exactly as you are. A being of Love and Light!”

Heidi Bobal, Member since 2018, from Vienna, Austria

A sound engineer. Business woman. Loves helping women raise their voices and thrive. Some of the things she enjoys are music, dancing, reading, swimming, and spending time in nature, especially her garden. Loves her kitties.

“I think Joy-Based Living is important because we raise topics that are not commonly talked about enough such as trauma awareness, spirituality and self-love. It’s so easy these days to get stuck in a rut. For example, the rut of “serving the system” is where life is planned for you… school, children, work. At JBL, we talk about purpose, meaning, freedom, love and joy. Joy-Based Living constantly reminds everyone inside the community to get out of the box. To look into the deeper things. To remember what’s important. The community is an essential part of Joy-Based Living. Many people are already on a personal development journey, but if you only read what other people write (books, blogs, etc), and you don’t have an exchange, you can become stuck again, because you’re on your own. Living joyfully requires a deliberate effort, but it’s so much easier when you have JBL friends.”

Christy Plunkett, Member since 2021, from Mentone, Alabama

Christy is lover of all things creative. A believer in magical wonderlands and colorful journeys. She’s a wife and mom to 3 amazing kids, and an entrepreneur of 2 businesses. Absolutely in love with her home on a mini farm with countless feathered, furry, fluffy and flying friends. She has gratitude daily for family, friends, nature, animals, art, music, and everything that makes up this beautiful universe. Including her place within the JBL community. JBL has been beyond a game changer in her healing process.

On my journey of self healing, I’ve found healing is absolutely hard work. Many times over the years I’ve felt stagnated on my path, and never understood why. When I least expected but most needed it, I met Debbie. Magical moments do happen. JBL was introduced and has been a life changing experience. Unconditional personal support and safety has absolutely allowed me to break free from the stagnant. Freedom in healing is the most rewarding achievement you can do for yourself. It is a continuous journey. JBL is more than a tool and it’s far beyond traditional therapy. It’s a supportive, non-judgmental coach and community. It’s learning a new love language of self. When you find you’re worthy of self love, you can love everything around you. It’s becoming the best version of you.

Debbie Happy Cohen, Founder since 2016, from Mentone, Alabama

“I treasure the feeling of being surrounded by people who appreciate each other, encourage each other and bring out the best in one another; people who value authentic connection. For years, I searched for an ongoing community that would embody these essential characteristics. I couldn’t find one, so in 2016, I created it. Because we all practice “relatedness without agenda” in our community, we get to experience high-octane friendships every day. This lifts my heart and fills me with a deep sense of meaning. Daily pleasures such as art, music, delicious food and the beauty of nature. . . are so much richer now. Joy-Based Living is a dream come true.”