Getting to Know Your NSPN Family

Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: Take a Breather

Written by Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

Sometimes when one hears the word “relax,” it’s followed up with “Relax? Who has time for that?” “If only.” “It must be nice.” “I can’t turn my mind off long enough to relax.” “If I relax, who’s going to do the work, take care of the kids, and so on . . . ?” But did you know relaxing is actually important for your health? Here are “10 Health Benefits of Relaxation” shared by The Huffington Post:

  1. Relaxing protects your heart.
  2. Relaxing lowers your risk of catching a cold.
  3. Relaxing boosts your memory.
  4. Relaxing lowers your risk of stroke.
  5. Relaxing keeps you safe from depression.
  6. Relaxing helps you make better decisions.
  7. Relaxing keeps you slim.
  8. Relaxing eases acne.
  9. Relaxing will keep you in the mood.
  10. Relaxing could slow breast cancer.

Lucky for you (if you’re one who’s guilty of having the thoughts mentioned above), we found “40 Ways to Relax in 5 Minutes or Less.” Some of these suggestions include the following:

  • Nosh on chocolate.
  • Lay your head on a cushion or pillow.
  • Remember to breathe.
  • Rub your feet over a golf ball.
  • Drip cold water on your wrists.
  • Look out the window/find the sun.
  • Stretch.
  • Listen to your favorite song.
  • Sniff citrus.
  • Talk to a friend.
  • and 30 MORE!

We asked your NSPN family this question: “What do you do to relax?” Here’s how they take a breather:

  • Laurie Jackson, President/Chief Executive Officer: “I read cookbooks, novels, etc., and I spend time ‘unplugged.’”
  • Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer: “Read, write, and photography.”
  • Shauna Brooks, Principal Investigator: “To relax, I like to lose myself in a well-written book, movie, or TV show.”
  • April Carthorn, General Specialist: “To relax, I lay on the floor with my dogs, have a beer and a shot of 1800, I listen to music, and people watch.”
  • Sherry Casey, Operations and Administration Manager: “Read or spend time with grandkids.”
  • Zach Elmore, Operations Specialist: “I like socializing after work with friends and family. I find long talks with friends as good for relaxation as any exercise.”
  • Kim Frierson, Training Specialist: “Go to the movies or have a well-made cocktail.”
  • Susan Harmon, Director of Safe Place National Operations: “I guess I relax by watching TV.”
  • Rachel Hurst, Development Associate: “Working out is really stress relieving for me. I read voraciously. I love naps with my puppy!”
  • Hillary Ladig, Communications Coordinator: “Read a book, watch a movie or TV show, or drink a delicious glass of Malbec wine.”
  • Autumn Sandlin, Marketing & Communications Intern: “I’m a big fan of naps! Although, I generally take those out of necessity and not for strict relaxation. When I’m actively trying to relax, I usually put on a tv show that I like and do some sort of face mask.”
  • Sabrina Smith, Development Intern: “When I get too stressed, I like to go outside and hang out with our chickens! They’re always so happy to see me – it’s impossible to be stressed when you’re surrounded by chickens.”
  • Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events: “I feel most relaxed when I’m snuggling with my pugs. Some people get annoyed when their dogs snore, but I find it quite calming. I think it’s because hearing them snore lets me know they are ok.”
  • Eric Tadatada, Technical Assistance Specialist: “I like to read or do crossword puzzles.”

Learn more about your NSPN family at

What do you do to relax? National Relaxation Day is August 15; feel free to share your “goto” relaxation ritual below.  


Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: Did Someone Say Pie?


January 23 is National Pie Day – not to be confused with Pi Day which is in March. This day has nothing to do with a continuous number that goes into infinity and everything to do with a continuous deliciousness that goes into infinity!

As a way to celebrate this day and to help you get to know your NSPN family, we’ve asked NSPN staff members the following question:

“What is your favorite pie (and why – if there is a specific reason you’d like to share)?”

  • Laurie Jackson, President / CEO: Cherry
  • Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer: My grandmother’s chocolate pie – There isn’t one thing about it that was good for me except that it always made me feel better. Love is always the most important ingredient.
  • Shauna Brooks, Principal Investigator: Hot apple pie with streusel crumble and vanilla ice cream
  • Katie Carter, Director of Research, Education & Public Policy: I’m really an equal opportunist when it comes to pie, though I tend to lean more toward fruit and chocolate-nut pies instead of creamy or meringue pies.
  • April Carthorn, General Specialist: It was hard work as a child cracking bags and bags of pecans. Our hands would sometimes bleed but there was no stopping us because we knew that the sweet, gooey pecan pie would soon sooth any bleeding hands and messes to clean up; it would make the tummy very happy.
  • Sherry Casey, Operations & Administrative Manager: Pecan or buttermilk
  • Lindsey Collier, Human Trafficking Specialist: Cherry pie is my favorite!  My grandmother always made it and it is the first pie she taught me how to bake. When I eat cherry pie, I always think of her.
  • Zach Elmore, Operations Specialist: Pumpkin pie – It reminds me of Thanksgiving and family.
  • Kim Frierson, Training Specialist: Apple (double crust if that’s an option) or the Chess pie from Homemade Pie & Ice Cream Kitchen.
  • Susan Harmon, Director of Safe Place National Operations: Either coconut custard (my mother used to fix it) or Dutch Apple with caramel icing (just because I like it).
  • Rachel Hurst, Development Associate: My favorite pie is none. Why would you have pie when you can have cake?
  • Hillary Ladig, Communications Coordinator: Fudge pie from The Fresh Market
  • Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing & Events: My favorite pie is sweet potato pie, but not just any sweet potato pie! It MUST be from Mothers in New Orleans, LA. Mothers has the best sweet potato pie in the world. If I can’t get sweet potato pie from Mothers, I tend to lean towards custard and meringue pies, but not lemon or key lime – I’m allergic to lemons, limes, kiwis, oranges, and pineapple.
  • Eric Tadatada, Technical Assistance Specialist: Apple pie

Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know your favorite pie!