And so, it begins

Today, January 12, 2020, I sent my first draft of my first three chapters to the editor. The process begins now. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I can hardly believe this day is here, but here we are, the girl behind the keyboard, typing away as she feels led.

Writing has been such an inspirational, healing journey, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to share it with all who dare read.

No matter what dream you are chasing, if you will keep moving forward, you will get there. It doesn’t matter how small the steps may be, keep taking them. If you fall, get back up and keep moving. If you quit, start again. Chase your dreams, because only you can make them happen.

Confessions from a Work-A-Holic

It’s currently 10 PM on a Sunday, and I am, of course, working. It used to be that I worked one job like I had 2-3 jobs, but now I divide my time between working 8-5 ish, family time, writing, speaking the radio show, building a social media brand, playing with puppies, spending time reading my Bible, reading 220 books in 2020, working out and trying to keep up with my house. That’s exhausting just to say!

Here’s the truth, work gives me purpose. My son has graduated high school and is working his way through EMT school. While he does appreciate a good home-cooked meal, he doesn’t actually need me for his day to day life. I’m not married. I am not ultra-involved in a church, although I have found one that I am plugging into. I love my six month old, sixty pound puppy horse, but after we play for about thirty minutes and go for a walk, he’s pretty much done with me and I don’t feel at all like I changed the world.

I used to feel incomplete without success at work, but now it’s the opposite. I have this pull towards a ministry that I know that God is calling me to. I am doing the ground work now to build the foundation that will sustain whatever he has called me to do. This time around, I am not defined by what I do. It’s different, because I have learned one important lesson.

I am not defined by what I do… what I do is defined by who I am.

I know that sounds simple, but for a girl who has always believed that her value and self worth were synonymous with what she could do for people, that is a huge paradigm shift. I am not defined by what I do, what I do is defined by who I am. I am not the person I am today because of the work that I do, in fact the opposite is true. I can do the work I do, because of the person I am. That shift in thinking enabled me to set boundaries, balance work load, and compartmentalize my time so that I could have both work and ministry and live a more balanced life.

Confession from someone who has struggled with faith.

Confession: I have never doubted God, but I have questioned a lot of His people. At one time, I left the church, and it was because of church scars.

I was told by a branding specialist this week that now is the time to start sharing my thoughts on social media, and to connect with an audience. I was given a list of social media platforms, to which I responded to the expert:

Facebook – check! This is my comfort zone – these are my people.
Linked In – check! I actually understand LI better than any of the others.
You tube – getting there, I overthink videos and delete them before posting, but I have a channel, so that’s something.
Instagram – check! This is an entire site dedicated to cute pics of kids and puppies, I’m in!
Twitter – yes, started it this week and Ugh! #ChristiansAreMean
TikTok and SnapChat – I refuse, this will not be a thing.

I feel like I am making some progress right? Turns out that I liked staying safely in my bubble, because people outside that comfort zone are mean to each other!

I happened to believe that we were called to be kind and love one another. We were called to be Christ like and if we take the name of Christ as our own, calling ourselves Christians (literally meaning Christ-followers) then we should definitely act like Christians. THIS is kind of what the Ten Commandments were talking about – Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain… ring a bell? Yeah, that has a lot less to do with saying, “Oh My God!” and a lot more to do with taking on the name of Christian but acting in a way that dishonors Christ. That includes tarnishing others in the church, especially on the Twitter.

The Bible is clear about not touching God’s anointed, and seeing the rage on Twitter these past few days from Christians against other Christians… I see a lot of touching going on!

How sad is it that this is what the rest of the world sees in us? We’re fighting for the whole world to see on the all to public, never eraseable world wide web, and we wonder why people are leaving and shunning the church. It breaks my heart, literally.

I know God is calling me to do something, but it is overwhelming.

It took me a long time to heal from the church scars and battle words of judgment and cruel words. The truth… we were called to love, and nowhere in 1 Corinthians 13 where The Bible tells us to love does it include judging or attacking others.

Confessions from someone who compares themselves to everyone else

It’s 11:53 pm and I tried to go to bed two hours ago, but I have stared at the ceiling recapping a day that I want to remember for the rest of my life. The day I first partnered with an editor for a book I wrote.

I partnered with Andria Flores, and she’s wonderful. We have two decades of friendship and deep deep rooted history. Our paths our intertwined, and our hearts speak in the unison that only friendship can decode. There isn’t anyone I would rather partner with on this book. I feel safe to be open and vulnerable and essentially say, “here is my life, edit it.”

The joy of this milestone is clouded by my dad being in the hospital. This is his second night. He has congestive heart failure and there is fluid on his lungs that is not responding to lasix. Praying hard.

Then there is the message board. I LOVE it. My mom asked me if I could use it to make social media posts, and I jumped at the chance. My first quote was something that I have been struggling with as I write, “Don’t be an extension of someone else, be uniquely and powerfully you.” Beaunique…. the beauty in being uniquely you.

Confession: that message is so powerful for me because I constantly compare myself to others.

I worry about what people say. I worry about what they think. Even in learning how to build a social media brand, I find myself over analyzing everything. Why did they like that post instead of love it? I didn’t have great engagement? What do I need to change up? It can become obsessive fast.

We weren’t designed to be replicas of other people. The world doesn’t need another Lisa Nichols or Brene Brown. I’m not supposed to be an extension of someone else’s message, effectively standing in front of my crowd to say, “Everything Mel Robbins said, and Jesus. The end.” That doesn’t help anyone in their journey.

The truth is that nobody else can tell my story. My voice and message are just as important as theirs. They have a bigger audience, and the business side of this business, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of anything I have to say.

When we compare ourselves to others, we tend to talk ourselves out of a lot of things. Once we realized that the only thing holding us back from being where our heroes are… is ourselves, then we will be uniquely and powerfully ourselves.

Confessions from an Overthinking Perfectionist

Confession: I overthink things, and anyone who knows me was not even a little shocked by that statement.

I don’t necessarily think that perfection is attainable, but I do always think it should be the goal. When I am writing something, I reread it more times than is healthy, and STILL make a ton of mistakes. When I record a video, you wouldn’t believe the number of outtakes and the horrible thoughts that go through my mind. “Is my third chin showing too much?”

I am even known for my overthinking, workaholic, perfectionism. Good thing that I’m relatively humorous in my approach to self criticism, because otherwise, I wouldn’t be much fun to be around.

One of my favorite LinkedIn recommendations came from my trainer, Megan. She had a lot of very humbling and flattering things to say, and it was the sweetest review ever. It’s also the nicest way that I have ever been called an overthinker. “She is a smart individual, who thinks outside of the box, thinks inside the box, thinks about the box, and ultimately makes things better. I highly recommend Andi and her compassionate and caring approach to the recruiting profession and the candidate’s needs.”

While I enjoy having an out of the box approach to problem solving, because I think it gives me a unique perspective, I have the tendency to get bogged down in the planning and analysis.

Confession: Sometimes I spend so much time plannings something that I am mentally and emotionally exhausted by the end of planning and I don’t start any of it.

Another Confession: Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by trying to make everything perfect that I give up before I start.

Often times, perfectionist don’t attempt things that they aren’t 100% sure they can succeed at. If we have failed in the past, it can make that tendency so much worse.

So that’s what makes this whole crazy journey of writing, radio shows, podcast, and social media-ing that much harder. I don’t know anything about building a social media brand. I don’t make youtube videos, I don’t know SEO techniques or how to make a killer website. I just don’t. Guess what, I’m stilling going to give it my best shot. I’m still going to start somewhere and trust that it’s going to get better as I go.

I went live on Facebook last night. I’m talking to people about the dream. I have failed at so many things, but I’m trying this. I meet with the editor tomorrow.

Let the journey begin.

The Phoenix

Hey warriors! Some people have asked me why I chose the Phoenix as my official business symbol, or why the slogan Beauty From Ashes. My theme has kind of always stemmed from trusting that God would take the ashes from my life and makes something beautiful out of it. I always trusted that He had a plan, no matter how bad things God. Now, that’s not say that I always did what I needed to do in order to walk that plan out, but I knew that He had big plans for me.

The Phoenix literally means from the ashes. I think it’s a beautiful creature that rises from the flames to stand strong and soar. When I got my first car, a beautiful red Camaro, I named her Phoenix, so that I would never forget the days I didn’t have a car, had a broken car, or that one horrible night I slept in the gas station parking lot in my car. From the ashes.

Not to sound too John Lennon here, but some say I’m a dreamer, that I didn’t have my focus on the reality in front of me. I did always look ahead and I always believed that things would get better.

Turns out, I was right. All of those that I went through are turning into a beautiful out to other amazing warriors who have fought hard and are winning the fight to taking the life back.

So why the Phoenix, because she is strong, beautiful, and rose from the ashes to soar.

Confessions from a Quitter

Welcome warriors! It is January 5th, 2020 – a new year and a new decade. I ended 2019 by making a list of all of the things that I started in the 2010s but didn’t finish. Confession: that list is way longer than I care to put in writing for the whole world wide web. Sometimes, I quit and even had great reasons. A messy divorce (well the marriage was messy, not so much on the divorce), health battles, change jobs, taking my son to the Mayo Clinic, needing to pick up another job to pay bills, starting businesses and failing at it. It wasn’t that I just didn’t want to do those things any more, but my strategy was way of. I either took on way too much and stretched myself too thin, or I dove head first into things that I didn’t have the skills or resources yet to pull off effectively. (key word there is yet)

There were a few other things on the list that I think seemed interesting at the time, but in reality, they weren’t a part of my dream and they didn’t get me any closer to my goals. Those are the things that we’ll leave in the past and file them safely in the “lessons learned the hard way” and “well that was cool once” folders of my life.

Then there are the other things… the things that I either started and didn’t finish, or that I planned on doing but didn’t get started. (again, sometimes with good reason) Those are the dream. Writing a book, speaking, a radio show, a pod cast, helping people who have overcome trauma and tragedy, getting and staying healthy, finishing my degree. Those are the things, along with A LOT of reading, that I will be tackling in 2020. (only much more slowly and spread out over 12 months instead of trying to do it all in January).

2019 was a tough year to round out an insanely tough decade. (Good riddance to my 30s!) However, it is a brand new decade and I am excited about what is happening already in 2020. Let’s recap.

25 hours into 2020, I finished the first draft of my book, Getting Out of My Own Mind, that I had started writing THREE times before. I meet with the editor on the 8th!

I met with the new owners of our local radio show, JoCo Community Radio, and will be starting the Beauty From Ashes Radio Show on January 21st.

I am two weeks into a healthy low-carb lifestyle that seems to be working for me. I am steadily losing weight, and feel great. I have less than 30 carbs a day. (Another confession: I totally save a ton of my carb points until the end of the day so I can justify having a Lindor truffle, mostly because Jesus made them.)

I have read six books in five days, and will be starting my book review videos tomorrow. I have a plan to read 220 books in 2020. I realize that goal was probably way more cute in my head than pulling of a book every 1.65 days, but this is where I have to get super creative. That includes the 66 books of the Bible, audio books, e-books and print. Blogs don’t count (sad face).

Maybe the best celebration is the introduction to boundaries in my life. I have been working on that for a few months. I have not fully arrived. I am able to compartmentalize my day. Focusing on my job during the day and turning my focus to writing and building the Beauty From Ashes Media brand in the evenings.

So this blog, warriors, is all about that journey. What are your 2020 goals?

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