I view life as a journey that gives us opportunities to explore new things and to seek adventure. To fulfill this quest, I have worked and volunteered in many different areas. Following my passion to help people, I chose the vocation of nursing, receiving an A.S from St Petersburg College, Florida in 1982. I worked mostly in critical care; however the focus on matters of the heart pulled me toward the cardiac unit which became my favorite.
After a twenty year career as a registered nurse, DonnaLee continued her education by pursuing a B.A. in Studio Art in 2005 from the University of Texas, Austin.. Since then she has advanced her art by exploring acrylic paints, pastels and watercolors. She has held volunteer positions for art festivals promoting art in the Austin area and was President of the Waterloo Watercolor Group (2013, 2014)
Her willingness to participate in sports (golf, swimming, hiking, running, kayaking, waterskiing, snow skiing and scuba diving) has brought her joy, however it was her many years playing competitive tennis that has challenged and rewarded her by giving her the chance to represent the state of Texas in a USTA National Tournament twice. Eagar to share her skills and knowledge of tennis, she earned the opportunity to coach a high school team in California.
Her passion for teaching and working with students advanced beyond the tennis court as she was also a Boy Scout leader and a board member for the American Heart Association. She ran the Jump for Heart program in the elementary schools and coached an afterschool jump rope demonstration team. Her desire to help children, continued as she accepted a Board position at the Austin Children’s Museum. Her volunteer efforts also take her to new locations, helping her to reach her goal to visit all fifty states. This spring she went on a mission trip to an Indian reservation in South Dakota building bunk beds and skirting trailers.
DonnaLee’s husband also shares in her love of adventure. Together they have traveled extensively: watching polar bears in the Arctic, spotting killer whales and penguins in Antarctica, snorkeling with sea turtles in the Galapagos, and cruising through Europe. In 2018 they journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean to Africa for a safari. They saw the big five and also a pack of wild African Dogs. Completing the world circle, in 2019 they cruised from South Africa all through Asia to Vancouver, Canada. A few months later this year, they traveled by train across beautiful scenic Canada. next year, the couple hopes to sail the South Pacific to visit Australia and New Zealand. DonnaLee says, "Travel while you still can!"
DonnaLee started writing her first novel in January of 2014. This idea of writing developed gradually over the years and it got its start originally from painting. In 2013, her “Overly Pink” Exhibit, paintings accompanied by illustrations, depicting her experience from breast cancer diagnosis to survivor, was showcased in several galleries. Bearing her soul on canvas and through words was challenging but the positive feedback was overwhelming. She found that by opening the door to discuss a difficult issue, other women readily came forth to share their experiences. Seeing a need to connect with people on an emotional level and with compassion, prompted DonnaLee in 2015 in a solo show to exhibit her landscape paintings by pairing each one with one of her poems. These poems expressed a full gamut of emotions from love and gratitude to loss and grief. Once again the response to her works was positive as viewers connected with the art enhanced by the poetry. This encouraged her to finish her novel that was started over a year before that depicted a female character who expressed her emotions through painting. Since then, her characters kept talking, so DonnaLee continued to write their story.
DonnaLee is currently working on the second generation of The Knot Series, focusing on Stan as the main character.