She wears many hats - occupational therapist, motivational speaker, singer, writer, humorologist, comedienne - but she says that her most important role is being a mother and a wife.
It has been only in the past few years that Stephanie Schaefer, of West Portsmouth, began her career as a comedienne and motivational speaker.
She created the slogan “High Heals for Worn-out Souls” to bring a holistic view of humor to the lives of everyday people, she said.
“I've always been the entertainer of my family from a little tot on,” Schaefer said. “About three years ago, our pastor was talking about ‘The Purpose-Driven Life,' the book.”
It was then that she began looking at her strengths, she said.
Two people close to her were suffering from cancer at the time, a friend and an aunt.
“I was like their Patch Adams,” Schaefer said. “I remember them saying, ‘Life is too short, you need to take this and roll with this. This is something you like to do.'”
Right after that she began giving talks. She tailors women's programs for her speaking engagements.
She injects humor into ordinary everyday subjects like the working mom, growing up, PMS, marital issues and going to the grocery store.
Schaefer also impersonates celebrities, such as Cher, and takes the familiar tune of “I'm Proud to be an American” and changes it into a humorous ditty:
“I'm proud to be a mother, where I've raised a family, I cook, I clean, I work a job, I really don't have time to pee.”
When she was small, she would watch Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball on television with her grandparents.
“I just loved that, and I always got a kick out of watching my grandparents light up when they watched those comedy shows,” Schaefer said. “I just take everyday little situations and turn them into satire and try to make people smile.”
She also sings to her children and puts herself in “time out” when she is having a bad day, she said.
“After working a long day, I find when I come home, my patience is very thin with my own kids, and sometimes I have to take that time out,” Schaefer said.
She works with special needs children using humor in her job as an occupational therapist. Schaefer also uses music when working with children.
She has been a keynote speaker for various groups, parent support groups, church groups, women's groups, youth groups and business groups, among others.
“Even the co-workers I work with, I typically will call them on the phone and wish one of them a happy birthday impersonating Cher,” Schaefer said.
With children, music is very therapeutic, she said.
Instead of saying “draw a circle,” she will make up a ditty about a round ball.
“I've tried to raise awareness for autism in the community also,” Schaefer said. “However can I better serve my community? How can I use my services to best promote the community and help others?”
She just finished her first book of humorous dittys “Faith-Lifts for Today's Woman: Tunin' Frowns Into Smiles” with colorful illustrations by Michael Mayne.
Each section of her book has a Bible verse that relates to the ditty she created.
In the introduction, she wrote a prayer using television shows and movies:
“Dear Lord, I come to you today as a desperate housewife, married with Children, and in need of a home improvement and a spiritual extreme makeover.
This former all-american girl is currently tangled in her wonder woman lasso and has spun into a multi-personality cybill. The View of society to be the bionic woman in the 21st Century has caused many of my girlfriends and me feel like grace under fire!
What's happening to the female species?”
PHYLLIS NOAH can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234 or e-mail at email@example.com.