Monday, September 23, 2013

On Being Transparent

I was at work recently when I received an unexpected message from a childhood friend on Facebook. I hadn't talked to her in a while when she started to ask me questions. She opened up to me about her struggles with the mind and confessed that she felt really low about herself and didn't know if I really liked or accepted her. She felt rejected because of her condition. Instead of encouraging her and offering her a nice quote to wrap up the conversation, I shared of my own experiences struggling with depression, unwanted thoughts, and anxiety. She was genuinely surprised that I too struggled to some degree with her issues. I offered her a book called Battlefield of the Mind by preacher Joyce Meyer, since it helped me tremendously years ago. She thanked me and said she would check it out. I promised to pray for her. After our conversation I thought about how important it is to empathize with others who struggle. We live in a very dark world where people struggle every day to make sense of what is happening while coping with their stresses and pain. We all hurt in some way, some more than others. But I'll tell you this, there is nothing like feeling like you are not alone in your pain. When I was a young girl I always believed that there was something "wrong" with me. Because my early childhood was filled with trauma, stress, and personal loss, I grew up with a lot of fear and I was constantly watching my back. I never truly felt safe as a child. When you grow up feeling unsafe it is difficult to know how to open up to people and truly trust that the world is going to treat you well. I had a lot of anxiety growing up, that I mostly kept to myself because there was really no one to speak to about them. My family wasn't exactly the kind that sat at the dinner table and talked about feelings. Because there was no one to open up to I learned early on to keep things to myself. I escaped through music, writing, and I'd spend hours in front of a mirror pretending that I was being interviewed by Oprah or Barbara Walters (one of my favorite shows as a kid was 20/20). It's no wonder that I have a passion for media and film. I think even God felt for me and decided to make it a calling. I'm a voice over artist. :-) I often had two recurring dreams as a little girl. One was that my permanent teeth were falling off. The other was that I was lost. I remember dreaming that I was lost in my own neighborhood. I'm no psychologist, but I believe that this was due to the fact that I didn't always feel at home in my own home. I often felt like an outsider. The books that I read provided a visual way of escape and the stories I wrote were the cries of my soul that were unspoken. It's no wonder that my favorite book at 10 years old was The Giver. A story about a boy who lives in a community of sameness who is given the gift of seeing and learning what the world was before everything became the same. As a child, I too felt like I carried the world on my shoulders. I was a peacemaker in my family. Humor was the best way that I knew how to cope since I never learned how to cry or express feelings in a healthy manner. I was not in touch with feelings or emotions. When you grow up in troubled situations, there is a lens from which you view life and people. Therefore I carried fear in my pocket which resulted in quiet anxiety. I call it quiet because I never let anyone know that I was terrified to the point of hyperventilating. I would freeze when it came time to read out loud in class. Anything that required vulnerability scared me. It still does at times. And even in graduate school, I walked out of a class when the teacher announced we were doing improv. I wasn't prepared for it and it scared me. It wasn't that I wasn't talented. It's just that fear always got in my way. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of being laughed at and judged. Fear of being applauded. I grew to detest the word fear. It would take years for me to find myself beyond the ugliness of fear. To learn who I was beyond my childhood trauma. To see myself as more than a peacemaker and fixer. At 30, I learned for the first time that I am meant for more in life and that I deserve to be happy. I am still working on accepting all that comes with that. So back to the conversation with my friend, I smiled because I knew that in that very brief conversation, I was letting her know that she wasn't alone. I told her I knew what it was like to struggle with overwhelming anxiety and thoughts that become almost empirical. I too have had demons I've had to battle (literally). And in sharing some of my pain with her I understood the importance of being vulnerable with others. It is so much more freeing to be honest with oneself and others than to pretend like we have it all together, when we clearly don't. I am still working through this. Sometimes fear's little uglier sister gets in my way. Her name is shame. I hope this post will be an encouragement to someone out there too. You are not alone.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Life As A Storm

Sometimes the storms of life can hit you so hard that the only thing you have left is the hope of what might lie on the other side.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Entrepreneurship: Daring to dream

"2012 looks to be the year of the entrepreneur. There has never been a better time for individuals to start new businesses. Taking up entrepreneurship is now an extremely doable means to overcome unemployment and under-employment, and perhaps even get rich" -Time Magazine Online

One of my favorite stories of the recession are those of people who were laid off from jobs and decided to pursue their childhood dream or take a chance at a dream. With the scarcity of jobs available, and long lines of people attempting to collect unemployment, many sat down, looked at their life and started to consider options for themselves.

Karen Young knew firsthand the struggles of being unemployed when her job as an editor for a community newspaper ended after they closed their doors. Young had to figure out how she was going to support her two children. She decided to really review her life and all that she enjoyed doing. According to Young, she took into account all of the things that she loved. "And then it came to me—the Internet. I am an information junkie, so I was forever surfing the web. Why couldn’t I build a business on the web where I could do everything I loved? Why should I look for a job when I could create my own?" Young created My Daily Find, an online resource for local events and attractions.

Like Young, many people have found themselves figuring out a way to support themselves without necessarily working for man. I too found myself at a low after I graduated from school in 2007, and could not find employment anywhere. No one would give me a chance because I didn't have ten plus years of experience. I was forced to evaluate all of my talents and I pursued what I always seemed to open up for me, which was working with kids.

I worked at a preschool for about a year and a half and later offered private tutoring in Spanish, while babysitting for local families. When unemployment hit the city I lived in, and McDonald's had a 300 person wait list, my husband and I knew we had to relocate. We sold most of what we owned and moved in with my mother-in-law who lives in Kansas for about a year.

During this time, we started to build our dream of a media business. While I collected unemployment, we began by building a media website in 2009. Because we knew that our living situation was temporary, we sought council from our pastor, friends and family, and searched for a place we knew we could grow our business. We prayed, my husband visited Castle Rock, CO and the rest is history!

Although it took some time, we have seen much growth within the last year. Our business is thriving to the point where we've had to turn down clients. I am fortunate to live in a city where the majority of the economy comes from entrepreneurs. I call Castle Rock, "the land of dreams." Our media business offers music lessons, film music orchestration and voice over recordings for aspiring voice talent. To learn about our business, you can visit our site at

Do you have a dream or vision that you would like to start? Perhaps you're afraid to jumpstart that dream because you're used to working under someone, or no one has ever truly supported your dream. Don't be afraid of stepping out! There are many out there just like you who have the same fears, so you're not the only one. Take some time today to analyze your life and where you are today. Are you happy? Are you truly fulfilled?

The world often teaches us to suck it up and do what we have to do to survive. But who really wants to just survive? Yes, we have to work jobs to pay the bills. I worked part-time at a different job and babysat for local families while building my business, but I saw it as a job to get me where I envisioned myself in the future. Don't get stuck when you could be thriving and fulfilling your true call. In the words of Oprah: "Find a way to get paid for doing what you love."

To read more about Karen Young and her story you can visit the My Daily Find website at Watch the inspiring video below to see how two women started their own businesses later in life.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Ever since my grandparent’s died two years apart, one in 2010, the other 2011 I have been thinking more and more about heaven. Although I have been a Christian for more than ten years now, I’ve never spent too much time thinking about heaven. I know I’m going to go there some day, but I’ve been busy thinking about my life and what I’m doing while on earth still. Plus, I’m still in my 20s.

A number of years ago, my marriage was hurting so bad that I felt lost. I felt like I no longer knew who I was, since I had poured so much into a marriage that was close to crumbling. I was on Facebook one night when I noticed a church friend was online. I was desperate for prayer or an answer since I was so broken at the time. I told this friend how lost I felt and her response to me was, Just focus on heaven.

Needless to say I was pretty frustrated with her reply. Why was she telling me to focus on heaven? I need some real advice here! I was 26 years old at the time, and heaven really isn’t something that you wake up thinking about at this age.

Although I was mad at this person for telling me to focus on heaven during my turmoil, I think I understand now what she was getting at. Our life here on earth is so fleeting. If you ask anyone in their 20s or 30s if they ever give thought to the after life, their reply would probably be a resounding no. And I understand why.

When you’re young you don’t think about dying. And some of us think we’re immortal. Often it’s when tragedy or major events in life shake our lives that we tend to look beyond our circumstances to remember that there is a promise beyond this earth for us if we’re open to it.

With the recent deaths of family members and major icons in the industry like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, I’m thinking more and more about what eternity promises us. Sometimes life can be so difficult, painful and traumatic that the only hope for some is to leave this earth and enter eternity’s arms.

Now that I’m nearing my 30s I think about heaven a whole lot more. And you know what? The idea that all the tears that I’ve cried, and all the negativity and pain that this earth often serves us is non-existent in heaven, keeps me longing for eternity. I know where I’m going when I die and on those dark nights of the soul, that knowledge brings me hope and encouragement.

We are but a breath away from heaven’s door. Don’t waste your life, days or soul.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I’ve learned in life that honesty is something that people truly value. I am currently reading a book by HLN host Robin Meade titled, Morning Sunshine: How to Project Confidence and Feel it Too. The author discusses how she found her confidence after years of anxiety attacks. In the book she explains that although she tried to belittle the anxiety issues in front of co-workers and even her husband, it was in hiding her issues that she was actually causing herself to sink deeper into it.

I appreciate Robin’s candidness in sharing so openly about her struggles. I love how she lists things that she likes and dislikes about herself. How great is that? Isn’t it refreshing to see someone that you would otherwise believe had all their ducks in a row admit that they don’t like themselves at times? I know that makes me feel wonderful! It makes me feel like I’m not the only one with some skeletons in my closet. I’m not the only one filled with inner storage boxes of painful memories, insecurities and false belief systems.

I believe that there’s power in transparency. When you are open about the struggles in your own life you not only gain freedom from your problems, but you also free others. It’s often the beginning of healing. People want someone to relate to in life. Experience is often the key to reach others. And when someone has learned that you have lived what they are currently struggling with then they find hope in their own lives.

The HLN anchor also shares how the “Aha moments” actually grant us more responsibility in the long run. Isn’t that the truth? Once you believe you’ve learned a lesson or perhaps have overcome something you’d been struggling with for a while, you are free to then do what you could not do because of it. It opens up doors of new responsibilities in your life.

I love “Aha moments,” just as much as anyone, but I also like the journey of learning. And I don’t believe that we ever arrive at a place where suddenly everything is just fine and all our issues just disappear. We may have breakthroughs in areas that crippled us in the past, but I like to believe that life is a continuous journey full of lessons learned. We are constantly evolving and growing. And I just thank God for His grace because without it I don’t believe I’d have the strength in myself to overcome the many hurdles life has handed me.

Let’s be honest with ourselves and with others. Use wisdom, but be honest. People appreciate authenticity more than phoniness. And none of us has the ultimate answer to anything. I believe there is freedom in not knowing and understanding everything.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Be kind

I recently read an article discussing depression in America. And I'm not just talking about recession and The Great Depression. I'm talking about the millions of Americans that are struggling through this economy and the overall negativity that the news feeds us on a daily basis. I recently heard from a church friend that three different men whom he knew through another friend took their own lives on the same week. THey were depressed because they could not provide for their families. It seems like every day we read stories of people committing suicide due to financial issues, unemployment or a form of mental illness. What this tells me is that there is a lot of pain in our world and people need hope. I am reminded of the scripture verse in the Bible that says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12) People need hope-bottom line. When you lose hope you lose the will to live.

I think America has been in a great depression, and it began on 9/11. Based on the stories I watched on television on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 last year it seems that we still have not recovered. My prayer is that we will see hope again, a great economy and opportunity for those who have not had one. In the meantime, I am making an extra effort to be kind to people and I'm starting with my home and even myself and letting it trickle to everyone, including strangers. Will you join me in spreading more kindness?


Monday, January 16, 2012


I love trees. Trees are one of God's best creations, in my opinion. Trees represent new life, peace and they're a reflection of time and seasons we live. I have a theme of trees and leaves throughout my home because they are a reminder to me of new life. I am a fan of sitting under trees and reflecting on all of God's creation. It builds my faith in life and God himself. Trees are wonderful!

I took this picture on a windy day here in Castle Rock. I love how the sun is shining through the leaves. I can appreciate the simple beauty of this picture, because sometimes in life the simple things are what bring us the greatest peace and joy. I know it does for me.