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Life Changes Show, May 24, 2021

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Life Changes Show
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Life Changes Show with Filippo Voltaggio and cohost Mark Laisure, with Executive Producer Dorothy Lee Donahue

“Axe Kicking Your Way to Mental Health,” with Guest, Taekwondo Second Degree Black Belt, Health Professional, Author, Melanie Gibson; and Musical Guest Duo, Jessica Teixeira and Shauna Muhonen as “Forged,” on The LIFE CHANGES Show Ep 634


Guest, Melanie Gibson

Guest Name
Melanie Gibson
Guest Occupation
Black belt in Taekwondo
Guest Biography


Melanie Gibson began taekwondo training at age ten. At age twelve she stopped taekwondo to pursue other interests, and resumed training in her early thirties.

Although Melanie had academic and career achievements throughout her life, she struggled with mental illness and low self-esteem. After making some progress through psychiatric treatment and counseling, she knew she needed to do something more substantial to make lasting changes. Returning to taekwondo had always been in the back of her mind, and the timing was right. 

Taekwondo proved to be not only an opportunity to re-learn a beloved skill from her childhood, but also a means to build her self-esteem and confidence, and heal from old wounds. It brought a needed excitement and purpose to her life, which she shares in her blog Little Black Belt ( While continuing to work at her full-time job, Melanie dedicated herself to taekwondo training and earned her first degree black belt in 2015. In 2017, she earned her second degree black belt. Although a pandemic and knee injury sidelined her training in 2020, Melanie plans to return to taekwondo and test for her third degree black belt. 

She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Texas Woman’s University, a Master of Library Science from the University of North Texas, and an MBA from the University of Texas at Arlington. Melanie has worked in the healthcare industry since 2004, with roles as a hospital librarian, corporate trainer, and learning designer. 


Melanie Gibson was an independent woman with a good job, multiple college degrees, and a condo in the trendy part of Fort Worth. She also had a few mental illnesses, a minor substance abuse problem, and rotten relationship skills. She was nearing a total mental breakdown and needed a good kick in the pants, literally and metaphorically. 

As a last desperate means to save her sanity, Melanie turned to a nearly forgotten childhood activity: the Korean martial art of taekwondo. To her surprise and delight, she discovered her childhood taekwondo instructors’ Grandmaster operated a taekwondo school a few miles from her home. She restarted her training as a white belt and quickly learned that taekwondo had much more to offer than just learning how to kick and punch.

In taekwondo, Melanie felt like she had a fresh start in more ways than one. She found an inner peace she’d never known before, a sense of community, a newfound confidence, healthy relationship stability, and a positive outlook on life. The kicking and screaming she was doing in class quieted the long-suffering kicking and screaming in her mind. Funny and frank, Kicking and Screaming: A Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts  is the story of Melanie’s life-changing journey from troubled, lost soul to confident taekwondo black belt.

Guest, Forged

Guest Name
Guest Occupation
Harmony Signers
Guest Biography



Jessica and Shauna forged the perfect friendship!  Both singers since childhood, they came together with complimentary skills and preferences.  Jess prefers singing melody while Shauna prefers singing harmony.  Jess sings high and Shauna sings low.  They have a love of harmony that is shown in the songs that they write.  They have pursued careers in country music as they love the storytelling aspect of the genre.  In 3 ½ minutes of a country song you can listen to a lifetime, hear someone’s whole heart, or go on an adventure!  Jess and Shauna have started pitching their original music to Nashville labels, and hope to someday hear their songs sung by other talented artists in the industry.

A little about Shauna:  She is the mother of 6, is self-taught in mandolin and piano.  Shauna has fond memories of learning how to sing harmony as a child sitting at the feet of her mother.  Shauna has spent many years singing in various capacities for women’s groups, churches, fundraisers, etc.  Shauna created and runs a woman’s ministry as well.  Shauna is living the country lifestyle too she has horses and her husband even competes in Hunter/Jumper shows.

A little about Jess:  She is the mother of 4, is a licensed clinical mental health counselor, and her husband owns a pizza and sub shop that’s attached to their home.  Jess has spent many years singing in various competitions, churches, fundraisers, etc.  Jess even won the title as “college idol” in a spin off competition of American Idol at her alma mater.  

Forged has grown over the years from a duo to a full band.  The band has grown to include Matt Johndrow (drums/writer), Mike Pistone (guitar/bass/keys/sound engineer/writer), and Rob Murphy (bass/sweet dance skills).  The band has 2 new songs in studio that will be ready to release soon.  The new songs are from both ends of the country spectrum.  One is the type of song you’d listen to on someone’s front porch (with a banjo of course) while the other is more of a fast paced rockin’ empowered song.  Stay tuned!

Life Changes Show

Show Host

Come and join the conversation about what's going on and what we can do together about it, with it, and for it. We have the choice, we have the power. We can do magic if we just believe!

A show about the changes going on in us, to us, around us, and because of us. Therefore, it's technically a show about "Everything," only with a how to make it better, see it better, be better.

In the show, there is talk about, and with, people who have either been through major changes, are helping others with major changes, or people who are changing the world for the better in a major way.

The show is a one-hour talk show format with a monologue by the host, a 30 minute interview with a guest of note, capped by a "Producer's Wrap" segment, in which Filippo and Co-Host Mark Laisure, and sometimes surprise guests, bring it all home for the listeners in a sometimes humorous and sometimes touching, but always entertaining conversation.

BBS Station 1
Weekly Show
9:00 pm CT
9:55 pm CT
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