In this Voice Studio episode I get really personal with a story about my dad, interviewed in episode 15. If you’re struggling to believe if your dream is possible or if you have what it takes, this is for you.
Mentioned in this episode:
In this Voice Studio episode I get really personal with a story about my dad, interviewed in episode 15. If you’re struggling to believe if your dream is possible or if you have what it takes, this is for you.
Mentioned in this episode:
I measured my mind against my dad’s. I watched him make decisions to lead our family with confident precision. And from what I could tell, most of the time the outcome was just what he intended. I wanted to move in the world like that. I wanted to awe and lead others with the confident precision of my mind just like my dad. And for some reason, I believed I could.
~Andrea Joy Wenburg in UNFROZEN: Stop Holding Back and Release the Real You
In this special Father’s Day edition of the Voice of Influence podcast, I interview my dad, Tim Moomey. In this episode we discuss his voice and career, including a few things I didn’t know! There are timeless, inspirational lessons here, so don’t miss this one. Mentioned in the episode:
Hey, hey! It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast. Now, every interview I’ve done in the past and plan to do in the future are all very special to me for different reasons. But a lot of times it has to do with the fact that I actually know the people I’m talking to and I’m very interested in what they have to say.
Well, today it’s an extra special interview and that is because I’m interviewing my dad! It’s Father’s Day weekend and he is definitely a Voice of Influence in my life and in his community, in particular. We’ve had some really good conversations in the past regarding this idea of voice and what it means to be a leader and things like that.
Andrea: So I’m thrilled to have you here on the podcast with me today, Dad!
Tim: Well, it’s good to be here.
Andrea: So this is Tim Moomey. I want to start by letting people know, kind of, what you do. Could you give us a little snippet of what you do for your job?
Tim: For my job? OK. I am a Certified Financial Planner. I help people plan retirement, their social security maximization. I meet with people and help them plan investing in general. We also do other things like long-term care insurance, life insurance, but our focus is on investments and helping people get to a point where they can comfortably retire.
Andrea: And is this something that you’ve always wanted to do? Did you know you wanted to do this as a kid or how did you get involved?
Tim: It evolved. When I was in high school I thought I wanted to be a music teacher. In college I got a teaching degree in music.
Dr. Jen Riday is a Women’s Happiness Expert and mom of 6. After struggling with depression and general dissatisfaction with life after the birth of her 5th child, Jen began a quest to “get happier” and now shares her journey with other women wanting to do the same. Jen lives in the woods just outside of Madison, Wisconsin with her family. Jen loves yoga, meditation, time in nature, and regular moments of quiet reflection.
Mentioned in this episode:
Andrea: Jen, it is great to have you here today.
Jen: Thanks for having me, Andrea. This is fun. It’s Friday, so we can have a little chat together.
Andrea: Yes. You’re in the middle of a big launch right now, I know, and maybe you could tell us a little about it. What are you launching right now?
Jen: Yes. Well, it’s a program called Time Mastery for Women. It’s an A-Z system essentially to help women find more time to do more what they love. To regain control over their time in life because so many of us get to that place where we feel like our life just kind of growing dim. And we kind of forget who that person was that we used to be prior to being busy or having kids or having work and juggling all these things.
And it’s just a way to get a grip on your time and schedule and your beliefs about time, plus producing guilt and shame and perfectionism that like so many women so that you can really feel like you’re in control of your life again. So yeah, it’s a lot of fun and if anyone wants to learn more that’s timemasteryforwomen.com
Andrea: That’s great, and I know that probably when this episode finally airs, I don’t think you’ll have it open at that time but…
Jen: Yes. We’ll have a waitlist for the next time around. We’ll be launching program again in the fall, so people are welcome to jump on the waitlist. It’s a great program and I think it’s a game changer for many women.
Andrea: You have a podcast that’s a really, really powerful podcast called Vibrant Happy Women. I was thrilled to be a guest on your podcast. So Jen’s voice, when I invited her to take the Fascinate Assessment, she came out with power and trust up really high. And that’s really interesting to me because I think that those two things – the ability to lead that language of leadership that you have and the consistency that you bring with the trust, I think are really suited for this topic of Time Mastery. So it makes sense that you would be a really great person to teach that.
Jen: Well, I don’t really know where it came from but I suppose someone told me the term superpowers. They’re these things that you’ve probably always been good at that you even realize were abnormal. And for me, organization and managing time are those things. I didn’t realize it was abnormal until about the hundredth time someone made a comment about this chart on my refrigerator and asking me, “How did you get everything done with six kids?”
And I started to think “Okay, well if we need to know what are talents are or our superpowers, I guess I need to look at what people say I’m good at.” And when I would ask people, they would say “Oh my gosh, you’re so organized.” I finally had to come to terms with “Okay, fine maybe this is something I’m good at.” So when I learned I was the guardian with the power and trust, I guess it makes sense. But I still kind of bristle a little against that because I really imagine I wanted to be Maria from the Sound of Music.
Andrea: Oh I think there’s quite a bit of power entrust in her. That’s really funny though. You know, doesn’t it seem like that when we’re really good at something, it’s really hard to realize if that something we’re actually good at. I mean, especially something like, I would imagine something like being really organized. You just kind of probably a little more naturally bent towards at and it doesn’t necessarily…you don’t realize that not everybody is as organized or whatever it is.
Jen: Yeah. Well that’s so true. So I married the complete opposite and I know it’s true that opposite attracts because physically, we just seemed to be like magnets. There’s just like, not that you want all this too much information, but we just have this massive physical attraction and I wonder if it’s because we are so different.
Andrea: It’s great!
Jen: So anyway, he flies by the seat of his pants, he didn’t even start. He’s a scientist and somehow he managed to get through his life. Only he started to use a digital calendar, maybe three years ago. He thought he could remember it all. It’s true, I didn’t realize that other people don’t think like me, so I found that a little exasperating when people can’t keep track of themselves because it always came so easy for me. But I’ve gotten better at recognizing “Okay, maybe I’m actually a little different here.”
Andrea: Right and that that’s something that you have to offer other people which I think is really cool.
Jen: Right. And I think some people are born with it and love it, but I think there’s a certain level of learning that can happen where people can take what has worked for other women like I have a week at a glance. And I can see everything that’s happening in my week, and people find that so intriguing. And once they get that, they feel like it’s a complete game changer to say “Hey, this is my week. This is where I’m feeling in time for recharging myself. This is where I’m spending time with my kids.”
And another thing is knowing the top four priorities of your life. For me that’s spirituality and self-care, family, health and then my career. And I want to make sure my use of time balances all of those four areas appropriately. So if I’m spending all of my time on career which can be tempting, I don’t feel an alignment and I have to look at my week at a glance and say, “Okay, well I don’t have this right and I’ve got to put back this time for taking care of myself, getting enough sleep, exercising, and spending time with my kids like movies and one-on-one time and a date night with my spouse then I feel really more balanced in life.
Many women feel like they’re kind of lacking that balance. They just want to do it all or when you narrow it down to those four areas that are really most important that’s the game changer part of it, where you can say “I’m gonna do these four things really well.”
Andrea: So you’re focus seems to be on happiness. What it is happiness to you? What do you think that women are really looking for? And you know the podcast here, we’re talking to Influencers who might be women or they might be speaking to women, whether they’re men or women. What is this idea of happiness that you think people are really drawn to and what your messages?
Jen: Well, I think to explain that the best, I need to take you through my low point and what happiness is not.
Jen: So long ago, I got my PhD in Human Development and Family Studies. I learned all the theories about what it means to a “good mom” and so I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband got a job in Madison, Wisconsin and proceeded to have six kids. And somewhere after my fifth child was born – a daughter, Jane, I kind of hit rock bottom because my whole focus had been on being this “good mom” defined my textbooks that I have studied and defined by society and magazines and TV shows, and I realized I couldn’t do it.
I was making home-made bread. I was doing elaborate birthday parties. I was keeping a pristine house, but it was so exhausting and I was empty, so empty and so tired. So about that time, I actually suffered a miscarriage and it was on Christmas day, in fact, my husband had to drive me to the hospital. We had a big argument the whole way there. It was an hour away because we we’re in a very remote area where my parents live in Iowa and that day was just such an emotional low, like it was the biggest emotional low I had experience up to that time.
And I guess those rock bottoms are really a gift because that’s when I decided “You know, what my life has kind of sucked for a while and I’m tired of this. And I wanna change everything.” And we got back after Christmas back to our own home in Wisconsin and I said to my husband that week “I’m joining a yoga studio. I’ll be going at this in this time and you’ll be in charge of them on those nights, goodbye.” And it was just baby steps from there.
Andrea: How did he take that when you told them that you’re going to be doing that? Was he encouraging or just kind of…yeah, what was his response?
Jen: Well, for a scientist who is very who’s very left-brained, he does seem to have ability to clue into the emotions around him. And he was thrilled because he said “I’m so tired of you being stressed. I’m so tired of you having this look on your face like you want to die and yes, please go to yoga. We got this.” And he has totally stepped up. He’s able to get our kids to do their chores after dinner. He makes them their dinner and it just got better and better as I let go of that control and taking care of me instead of trying to manage everyone else first. I’m happier. They’re happier, everything is better.
So back to your original question – what happiness is not is trying to do “something be the good mom or the good wife” based on who knows where that definition even comes from. And when I started to notice how I felt inside like yoga left me feeling amazing, book club. I came home smiling and happy going for that walk or that hike in the woods. I started to notice my happiness and listening to my feelings and intuition. So that’s what I teach people, they’ve got to listen and have this quiet moments and really know how you feel inside and do those things. It’s scary because you have to define what your life should look like on your own based on your feelings so you have to have a bit of trust in yourself so that’s my definition of happiness.
Andrea: Hmm, that’s an interesting thought. You have to be able to trust yourself. Do you think that people have a hard time doing that? Or that they have a hard time stopping to really listen? What’s the issue?
Jen: Two things, yes. So taking the time to get started and I recommend 10 minutes of meditation each morning. Check in to ask yourself how I’m feeling in my body, how I’m feeling emotionally. What are my thoughts. Just having that self-awareness because when you check in and have quiet meditative time or prayer time or journaling time, they’re all essentially the same thing of getting grounded and centered and knowing yourself then when the stressful moments happen all day, you can remember “Oh, this feels way different then what I felt during that meditation time this morning and I don’t like this feeling. I wanna go back to that calm and sane place, so how I’ll get myself there?”
And then you’ll remember “Hey, okay, yoga, walks, nature, reading, napping; all of these things recharged me and I wanna get back to that feeling.” So that’s one thing, making the time and then having that awareness and now the second thing is going to allude me, what was that? Remind me of your question, Andrea.
Andrea: What do you think that gets in the way of people taking that time or understanding that they can trust themselves?
Jen: Okay, yes that was the first one, taking the time to know how they feel, taking the time to reflect and slow down. And some people find that really scary at first too going in that quiet place because they never been there. So that’s the first thing, it’s just going there. But the second one, I find that women still they want that permission – permission to take care of themselves.
So that’s why they love joining the Vibrant Happy Women Facebook group online because I’m constantly saying, “Oh good for you, you took a nap today.” Or “Awesome, you went on a walk with your kids and you left the dishes filed up.” They just love having a place where they can be praised and have a little bit of validation to start a new way of thinking in doing things. So those would be the two big things.
Andrea: That’s really interesting. I’m wondering about the people, whether be men or women Influencers who are listening right now. It’s sounds to me like what you’re saying is the part of what women in particular might need is that permission to do whatever they need to do to take care of themselves. I’m just wondering like if you’re to give a suggestion to men about how they could speak to women whether it’d be their spouse or other women around them or how they could sort of speak up life-giving kind of message to them, what kind of things do you think women want to hear from them?
Jen: I don’t know about all women, but two stories come to mind. Well, first my own spouse just constantly giving me that kind of permission that I would need that, but I don’t want to leave and go to yoga thinking the world is going to end at home because I left. So to have them say “Go, we want you to be happy.” Huge words so you don’t have them to have any guilt.
So step one, men say to your women, your loved ones, or your daughters, whoever you might be interacting with, “Go, do what makes you happy. I want you to be happy. I want you to be happy.” And repeat it over and over and often. And I guess that would be the main one, but the second one, I’m reminded of a story from someone in one of my groups. She felt like her husband just didn’t really care what she did but then she realized he too just wanted her to be happy.
It was almost like she was preventing herself from the happiness and imagining that he wanted her to be at home taking care of the house and creating these amazing meals. And in reality when she started doing things for herself, he was thrilled and he started doing all the cooking. So she was creating this misery that lasted for over a decade for her which had no truth at all. So I guess, men, communicate really clearly that they want them to be happy and that they don’t need to be doing all of the household tasks or all of the cooking which so many women still hold to this model from the 50’s where that was the case.
Andrea: Yeah, that would really, really helpful. I think that even for me, I know like this week, I taught a class last night at our local community college and the night before that, I needed to work. I had a lot to do and so for two nights in a row, my husband had the kids after work until he put them to bed. And that’s a really big deal for us to kind of make that shift because he had been the one that had been working all the time.
So I was trying to make sure that he didn’t have to constantly feel like he was on and that sort of thing, but it seemed that once I started to have another purpose outside of the family that we all agreed upon, we’re all comfortable with, this is how he sees that he can help me and help that message that I have too. And that is so freeing to be able to leave and say “Huh, he’s got it. I’m not gonna sit her and wonder if they’re in bed yet. I’m not gonna sit her and wonder what they had for supper, you know. I’m not gonna prepare ahead of time. I don’t have time to do you know for such a thing.” That’s freedom.
Jen: And I think that’s a huge thing for female Influencers. We like to think that we’re empowered, which we are. We like to know hold to the fact that things are getting more and more equal and that’s awesome. But still, if you look at Facebook ads or TV ads, it shows the women doing the laundry. It shows the women doing the dishes. We still have this massive pressures and stereotype which causes all that guilt when we, women want to step up and be Influencers and make a difference. So we have to kind of squash that guilt and give yourself the permission and just say “I’m gonna do this.” I constantly have to that.
Andrea: So let’s go back to the topic of happiness again. When it comes to being an Influencer, why do you think that we should be pursuing our own happiness? How does happiness affect our voice? How does happiness affects our message and what we’re able to communicate to others?
Adrienne: Okay. Well, depending on who you’re influencing. Let’s just start with let’s say the family for starters. We’ll when I hit my low point and was at that emotional rock bottom, I was empty. There’s no way I could be an Influencer for my family because they probably thought “Man, mom is grumpy and impatient and I don’t want to be like her.” And was only when I realized what I wanted my kids to learn, what I wanted them to become that I could start influencing them because I had to model it.
So when I said, I want my kids to be happy and productive then I had to get myself there. I had to know how I felt inside and do those things that made me happy. And you know, I like to imagine that sometimes at the end of my life, I’m on a mountain looking back down at the path of my life and I see my loved ones, my kids, my spouse and asked, where they’re going to remember me for? And I hope that it’s for being vibrant and happy.
Those are my two key words that guide everything I do and I definitely have down moments and mistakes but I want to keep moving forward. Explaining that further, if you’re an Influencer for others then it’s the same thing, what do you want them to learn from your example? So doing those things that you love that light you up and feel amazing inside, maybe it’s writing that book or being a violin teacher or having a message online for people. Whatever it is, you know what you feel passionate about.
And when you follow those feelings, the things that make you feel good inside or probably the things that other people need to hear from you. So pursuing your happiness really comes back to pursuing what you’re passionate about. They’re very connected. And when you’re doing those things that light you up, those that simultaneously makes you happy, and you’re probably doing what you need to do to be an Influencer.
Andrea: Yeah that’s a really great point. Yeah, I think that it seems that…I know when I can think of myself at least when I’m not feeling happy inside or whatever you know balance or feeling like I’m centered and when I’m feeling unhappy if you will, it does seem like my voice ends up projecting this more negative outlook. And yeah, my kids, I know my kids can even see it in me. There are times when my daughter will say “Mom, please don’t do that. Please make sure that you do this because you’re more happy when you do this.” And that’s really interesting. She knows me well enough that I need to get sleep at night, you know. So I told them enough times, you know, “Mom really needs to get to bed so you need to get to bed so that we can have fun tomorrow because it does affect everything.”
Jen: Right. And people could see through you when you’re not practicing what you preach or when you’re operating from that place of empty. The message won’t have power. You’ve got to feel that first and I feel like there’s really an energy that emanates from you whether it’s just through audio or even video or in person, you got to live it first.
Andrea: Why do think that Influencers, people who are wanting to have a voice in the world, wanting to have a voice at home or whatever, why do you think that we don’t pursue happiness? Why do you think that we hold back from doing that?
Jen: I think the biggest one is that idea that we’re fraud, that we’re not good enough or that we’re not worthy of happiness. We all have these stories that we grew up with or that we’ve told ourselves over the years. And essentially we trying to up level our lives when we lived more and more happily but this voice that nagging little voice that hold us back, “You don’t deserve it. You’re not good enough. You’re fraud.” So it’s just really loving yourself and knowing that you are worthy of that happiness and sharing it with others, sharing whatever message you have.
Andrea: Yeah. I think there have been times I know for myself when I feel like I need to take one for the team but it’s not necessarily that. Sometimes, it’s really that martyr, kind of in a negative way that martyr complex where you really feel like you need to feel bad so that you can do something that’s important.
Jen: Oh that’s interesting. I haven’t considered that one before but that make sense just some guilt. Oh that’s interesting, Andrea. I’m going to have to dissect that and think about that for a while.
Andrea: You know, it’s that “I’m just more serious than everybody else, or I’m just more whatever than everybody else so I’m gonna have to bear this burden for everybody else.” You know that sort of thing, I think it can definitely be something that I’ve certainly felt before and I’ve seen that happen before too. But in the end that doesn’t seem to really accomplish the end goal, does it?
Jen: Well, no because if you’re negative, you can’t be an Influencer. I really think Influencers have a bit of charisma. But by charisma if we dissect that a little, it’s an energy and a confidence that only comes from knowing clearly who they are, knowing their worthy, knowing that they have an important message and really, essentially knowing that they have “a calling” to share. And when you have that, you don’t need to feel guilty or to shrink back and feel not good enough because… You know there’s a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert that I’ve watched before. And she said back in the Ancient Greece, I think Greece or Rome, one of two, people believe then what was called a genius which is like a muse and they thought that all creativity comes from their genius.
And so if they’re feeling creative, well they blamed they’re genius and if things we’re going well, they could think they’re genius. But it took all the pressure off of the person and they put it outside of themselves. That’s kind of true for us too if we believe kind of that we have a calling from God or the Universe, then it’s easier. It’s not around things or an assignment and it’s takes some pressure off.
Andrea: Yeah that’s a good point too. Well, Jen, this has been really helpful. I really appreciate the idea that we can organize our lives in such a way that maybe we can actually have some happiness then go ahead to offer to others as well. Do you have any suggestions or references, any resources that you might suggest that we take a look at?
Adrienne: Yes. So my audience is primarily women, so most women might be interested in this. But men, you’re welcome. It is cared through for women, but I have what’s called the self-care tool kit. And it’s a little mini video training with a workbook and some other tools including some guided meditations that just help women to take better care of themselves. So they have a place of energy and positivity to give from and to be that Influencer. So that’s at jenriday.com/selfcare.
Andrea: Alright. So thank you much, Jen. I appreciate you sharing your story and your advice with us today
Jen: Thank you for having me, Andrea. This is great. I love what you’re doing.
Last weekend I let my daughter and niece spend as much time in Bath & Bodyworks as they wanted. It was Amelia’s birthday weekend away and my mom and I enjoyed watching the girls do big girl things and delight in their time with each other. I watched for 45 minutes as they meandered around the store, sniffing randomly chosen candles, lotions and sprays. They each had a little money to burn and they wanted to find the perfectly scented treasure to bring home.
It was pretty darn cute. But I took note of their pattern. They didn’t methodically work their way around the store, they just smelled something, reacted to it, then set it down and wandered a few steps before doing it again. It was only when they began to get hungry that they finally made their decisions so they could go to lunch.
Being on this journey to figure out what the heck I’m trying to accomplish with my book, blog and business feels a bit like wandering around, sniffing all of the scents, trying to figure out where I should commitment. I’ve been told that everything changes once you really know who you’re writing for and what you’re offering those people, but I don’t want to decide! I want to grab all of the candles and bring them home.
But as Marie Forleo says, “if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.” Ugh.
Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to actually make a decision! I’m constantly thinking of ways I could contribute, so much so that I get lost in the mingling aromas of the ideas and don’t even know what I’m smelling anymore.
But that’s part of the dilemma creative people face. The world of possibilities looms so large that it’s tempting to freeze right in our tracks. We often need community and mentors to guide us in our decision making processes. So I sought out help.
Podcasts, online courses, articles, books and great conversations have stretched and challenged me to hone my message so it aligns with who I am and makes a significant contribution to the world. And just as I’ve said from the beginning of my blogging journey, and as evidenced in my book, I want to help you do the same.
I see creative, sensitive, empathetic people hold in their thoughts and lock their voice in like I see with timid singers and it pains me. These people have insights and perceptions that could make a significant impact in their relationships and the world, and yet they stay quiet for any number of reasons. It’s quite a bit like this little movie clip I love so much.
Maybe that’s you. Maybe you don’t share your opinions because you don’t want to make other people feel as you’ve felt in the past – run over by someone else’s agenda. Or maybe you don’t share your wisdom because you’re worried people would think YOU think you’re full of yourself. Maybe you hold your voice in until you can’t hold back anymore and it explodes. Maybe you just don’t think your voice matters that much.
But what if you developed your voice and let ‘er rip like these kids?! Wouldn’t it be amazing to move with more confidence, humility and power instead of holding back? What if you’re voice has more potential than you realize?
Well, that’s why I’m here. I may still be sniffing around a little, but I’ve found a good stopping point for now. Just as I used to help singers find their authentic voice and develop as a singer, I always have and always will do what I can to guide others as they find and develop their voice of self-expression so they can make the difference they are born to make.
Do you believe your voice matters when you use it? Do you feel completely confident every time you step onto any stage in life, knowing that you know exactly what you want to say and how you can deliver your message so the people listening will be moved by your words? If so, you don’t need to waste your time on this website because you’ve already got what I have to offer: compelling communication strategy.
But if you know you have more to offer than your voice is delivering, you’re in the right place. If you have something you want your loved one, your team or the world to hear and yet you can’t seem to get it to come out right or it just doesn’t seem to be making the difference you know it could, stick around.
In April I’ll be launching a new podcast entitled “Voice of Influence.” It’s been a year in the making and the name of it changed recently when I had a massive breakthrough about the message and focus of the show. The podcast (previously “Brand Revelations”) will feature interviews with experts and leaders who share the story of their own voice of influence, as well as practical advice based on their area of expertise. I will also have short segments where I bring you into my “voice studio” and share actionable insights that you can apply, one at a time, to make your voice matter more.
After roasting through a Georgia summer and scrambling to move into a new home just weeks before my second child was due, it was finally time to nest. I leaned back into the sofa, my feet propped up, and sorted freshly washed baby clothes. My toddler son wandered over. “Shoe?” he asked, holding up a bootie.
“Yes, honey, that’s for your baby brother or sister,” I smiled.
“Baby sister,” he pronounced with a nod.
“Yes, your baby brother or sister.” I responded, since we had foregone an ultrasound reveal.
“Baby sister,” he stated firmly, leaning against my leg.
Don’t miss the special announcement at the bottom of this post!
His words unsettled me. After mothering a boy for twenty months, I felt like I’d found a rhythm for who he was. My mom and I had survived my teens years but only because my peacemaking dad had helped us navigate the transition from parent/child to friends.
What would it be like to have a daughter? Did I have what it takes to mother a girl well? Or would we end up with one of those tense, competitive relationships that can take place between women in a family?
Whether I was ready or not, my son was right. I soon snuggled a beautiful, chubby-cheeked girl, with dark hair falling past her ears, and my adventure in parenting a “mini-me” – who is also very much her own person – began.
Fast forwarding fourteen years, she is still beautiful. Her deep brown eyes readily well up with tears of compassion or flash with passion over injustice. Logic and intuition both make a home in her heart, and woe to the disingenuous! While she’s patient and quick to forgive, her radar is alert for deception or inconsistency. Her three brothers appreciate her as both tough and tender. She calls me her best friend, yet our love and her trust unsettle me still, deepening my felt need of God’s wisdom and grace as her mom.
In a world that weighs her against air-brushed, starving fashion models, that measures her value by male approval, that seeks to silence her voice – what does my life, my mothering, teach her about being a woman? In a Christian culture that sends mixed messages about holiness, service and the nature of femininity – what does mentoring her as a Jesus-follower look like? In a home that’s hectic with homeschool, work, chores, noise and never enough sleep – in what ways can I both recognize and shape opportunities to connect with her heart?
Reading UNFROZEN together has been a gift to us both. Even as I resonated with Andrea’s story for myself, the book seeded conversations with my daughter about what it means to be a woman who loves and lives for Jesus. I could share the lies I believed, the mistakes I made because of them yet point to God’s faithfulness in pursuing and redeeming me. Discussing UNFROZEN together gave me a chance to hear her inner struggles and clarified the truths I want to pass on to her.
I’ve been blessed that she’s chosen to be a Jesus-follower in her own right, but, I’m realizing that even if she hadn’t, I can still choose to live these truths before her, alongside her. Although I didn’t know how I was “supposed” to mother a daughter, God’s faithfulness has upheld and led us both, and I am forever grateful for this gift who has grown me up, with her.
What does it take to mother a daughter well? Just an open, honest heart and a very gracious God.
Rosanne Moore is the homeschooling mother of 4 awesome kids who amaze, amuse and humble her, as well as one precious babe who anchored her heart in eternity. In 2011, single parenting arrived as an unexpected fork in her road. However, it’s left her more grateful than ever for God’s faithfulness and His many grace-gifts, which include a close-knit extended family, honest friends who are both hilarious and wise, snuggly cats and a good book on a rainy day, all forms of chocolate and the color purple.
Utilizing her experience as a reading instruction specialist for students K5-adults and as a language arts/writing tutor in her current work as a freelance editor, Rosanne helps writers hone their message to connect effectively with their audience. With her passion for truth and heart for seeing the Body of Christ deepen in community for God’s glory, she also serves as a spiritual director, listening to the unfolding story of God’s work in the lives of others and sharing her own journey of seeking God in every part of life, even (or, perhaps, especially) in our darkest nights. She can be contacted regarding either of these services at email@example.com
The UNFROZEN Video Discussion Guide is here!
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“I’m gonna hop, hop, hop,” my two-year-old daughter shouts as she hops and runs down the sidewalk, a made-up song spilling out with her giggles.
“Mommy! I’m gonna fly like a plane,” she shouts again as she extends her arms above her sides and starts to run.
I watch her.
It doesn’t cross her mind that anyone, but me, is watching.
She’s not even aware that anyone else might be paying attention or that we’re “in public.”
She’s not trying to impress anyone….
Or wondering what someone might think.
She is simply testing her abilities and finding creative ways to express herself and have fun.
I long to protect that—that innocent and unrestrained self-expression and playfulness.
And, I wonder when I lost it. When we lost it.
I wonder when we stopped testing our abilities, because we started to believe failure was a bad thing or when our shouts turned to a whisper and then to silence, because someone told us we were too loud or talked too much or didn’t have anything valuable to say.
Or when we started to compare our made-up songs or made-up poems with someone else’s and thought we better stop “making up,” because we weren’t any good at it anyway.
Sometimes, it takes a child to remind us what it looks like to express ourselves and create without fear.
There are times when we call our children reckless; we say they have no sense of danger or that they’re too courageous.
I wonder what age those words start sticking and when our caution starts to plant seeds of fear and reluctance in our children.
Of course, we have to teach our children boundaries and, of course, we have to teach them about danger.
But, why do our boundary lines move closer and closer inward until we will not move or speak or create or play for fear that we’ll cross the line?
The very line we ourselves created.
Why have we allowed fear to keep us silent?
Or keep us so heavily guarded that the words we speak or the things we create have little impact, because they’re not striking deep places, simply because we’re afraid to pull from deeper within ourselves?
As much as I long to protect the creativity, imagination, and uninhibited expression within my daughter, I long—even more—to cultivate it.
I long to find ways to keep her imagination and creativity alive, to fan the flame, and to keep it growing….
to call out all that’s inside of her to come forth and encounter the world…to make it brighter, to make it better.
And, when I create space for her to sing, dance, paint, or run without me drawing imaginary boundary lines around her with my “be careful,” or my “not so loud,” I see the most of her, I see the best of her…..I see what she’s made of.
And, when I create space for her to express herself without worry of a mess or a fall, she challenges herself and she surprises me, because “I didn’t know she could do that—I thought she was too young.”
Then, I wonder if I would create space, if there are places in my life where I’d surprise myself, because “I didn’t know I could do that.”
My daughter reminds me what it looks to create without fear.
Her very act of creating without fear is itself a creation, because it sparks in me the desire to create.
And, I start to think that if we’d all be a little braver, a little less restrained, and we’d extend those boundary lines out a little more…we’d see an outpouring of gifts, talents, ideas, and works-of-art that would begin to drown out the destruction in our world.
Because, if we’re not making something new or finding ways to breathe new life into what’s already been created, we’re either staying stagnant or we’re destroying the things that we’ve made.
Although we’ve never met in person, Holly and I connected through Her View From Home and hit it off right away. It took a few phone conversations before I realized that she is a Cozad, Nebraska native and her dad worked with my husband’a grandparents there. I’m so pleased to share her with you today. Please go to her website and order her book!
Holly Mthethwa is passionate about sharing God’s word in everyday life. She’s been a missionary advisor in Peru and India and is the author of the Christian memoir “Hot Chocolate in June: A True Story of Loss, Love, and Restoration.” She resides just outside of Washington, D.C. where she lives an adventure with her husband and daughter. Holly writes regularly about faith, family, and moments that have hooked her heart at www.ruggedandredeemed.com.
To read more from Holly, check out her book “Hot Chocolate in June” on Amazon or visit her blog at ruggedandredeemed.com.
I’m here to tell you this is a worthy use of your life: both the grand calling of motherhood, and the smaller gifting of artistic self-expression.
~ from Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart
A while back an article circulated Facebook with a title that sounded something like, “Back off Pinterest Mom. You’re making the rest of us look bad.” It seemed that there were quite a few women who felt particularly annoyed with the moms who turn simple snacks into elaborate cartoon characters and put together a creative concoction of homemade items for teacher gifts.
The article made me sad. Although I don’t consider myself to be particularly crafty, I certainly know the desire to find some kind of creative way to express myself in the midst of motherhood. In the middle of writing a book about my own desire for self-expression, I read the rant and knew my writing endeavor would upset the moms sharing that article. Because I intended to go all-out with my book like Pinterest Moms go all-out with their school snacks.
Reading the article made me sad for all women. Moms that create in the kitchen, women that throw elaborate parties, girls who sing their heart out instead of holding their voice in. With sentiments like “reign it in” circulating, no wonder we hold back. What if, instead of pressing each other into status quo-level confinement, we call out and celebrate creative self-expression in the midst of motherhood?
The storytelling nature of Unfrozen: Stop Holding Back and Release the Real You was intended to help women who relate to my experience as someone who felt frozen from being able to express myself fully in relationships and in my creative contribution. I am excited to say that if you identified with my story, you will most certainly be nourished by a book that releases today.
Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart (–>Website Here<–) is a composition of reflective teachings that call moms to open their minds and hearts to wrestle with their own desires for creative expression. The authors know the creative-mom struggle intimately, so they speak with compassion and authority.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is that it hits on both our need of living in the moment with our children and our longing to tap our creativity. “If you are smack-dab in the middle of this intense season of mothering right now, and the idea of carving out even a little time for your craft overwhelms your heart and your family balance, then take this woman’s wisdom to heart. Tuck away each torn out picture from a magazine, each story concept, each personal revelation that supports your vision. Jot it down and file it away, then move about your day with peace in your heart that the inspiration waits for you. This recorded book of ideas opens wide the gift of freedom, allowing you to live your dreams first.”
I echo that advice with a big and hearty “amen!” For years I’ve been filing away metaphors, stories, feelings and inspiration in journals and notebooks. These proved invaluable when my kids both started school and I began to write and speak with more intention. And now when I take walks by myself I turn on the voice recorder and document my musings on my phone.
The book also includes a section where the authors discuss another topic dear to my heart. “When the unique needs of a sensitive soul go unmet day after day, year after year, there is the tendency to spiral downward into the pit…Here’s an ugly truth: Sensitive people can be incredibly insensitive when they lose themselves. I’d never been an angry woman until the quiet spaces of my life were threatened.” Yes! Sensitivity and creativity often go hand-in-hand. If you were able to relate to the description of my angry outbursts in Unfrozen, you will certainly be nourished by the thoughts on sensitivity in Life Creative.
The creative life of a mom is complicated and frustrating at times, but with the guidance of those moms who have gone before us, we can be released into the joy and freedom of a non-pressured creative self-expression right in the midst of mothering. Whether you’re a “Pinterest Mom,” a wanna-be blogger, or a master-schedule master, you can live this creative mom-life with great hope. There is so much more I could say but for now, I want to offer my thanks to Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart for their hard work and beautiful mentorship through this book. They will help you release the Creative You.
“You are His Poem. Your heart and your art are His song to the world. Sing it loud.” ~ Life Creative
I’m guessing that many of you need this book. If you don’t think you do, I’m confident that someone you love needs this book. So I encourage you to (–>Click Here<–) and buy it today before you forget.
It’s hard to be real. Real is risky and leaves me wondering what others will think of me when they know that I’m not the perfect wife and mom. What will they think if I share my doubts and struggles? Well, a couple of years ago I decided it was time to share my journey through dating, marriage, postpartum depression and anxiety because I long to see the “unfreezing” of women everywhere.
Unfrozen: Stop Holding Back and Release the Real You released August 28th as a Kindle Bestseller in multiple categories! I want to share with you the prologue, the moment just before everything changed for this wife and mom of two little kids.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Aaron sighed. We were nearly home from spending Thanksgiving weekend with family.
As we prepared to pull off the interstate, I looked out the window at the Nebraska prairie whizzing past. He always had work to do. I’d spent the past three years taking care of our kids while Aaron attempted to dig out of the paperwork hole he’d fallen into as a small business owner. It wasn’t something we could do anything about and I felt bad for him, but…. How will I ever get myself out of this hole as long as he is in his?
“What are we going to do when we get home, Mom? Can we play with friends?” I glanced back at our 6-year-old Amelia. Her intense need to have our schedule planned out in her head made it difficult for me to feel like I was ever on top of things.
“No. Today isn’t a friend day.”
“Well, what fun thing are we going to do?!”
My muscles wound tight as she spoke, and then I glanced at Grant. His little body looked as tired as I felt. Grant spent the first four years of his life waking up at 4:00 a.m. Chronic sleep deprivation threatened to strangle the life out of me. I probably looked like it. Thankfully, we were at a point in Grant’s life when I didn’t have to wake up with him every morning, but I was still tired. Oh, so tired.
The truth was, I was also angry. It seemed like my kids, my husband, our dogs and even God were in on this conspiracy to keep me awake and on edge. I simply couldn’t catch up. Just as soon as I began to feel rested, someone would have a bad dream or need me when I went to sleep. I didn’t like having to fight for my sanity, but what choice did I have? If I didn’t, I was utterly defeated on most days by 7 AM.
My consolation was that we could afford a few distractions. “I think I’ll take the kids to the new Disney movie this afternoon while you work.” The thought of theater popcorn and a large Coke took the edge off the disappointment of another lonely Sunday.
“OK.” He looked at me apologetically and then pulled into our garage.
Leaving the kids in the car, I slipped into the house, through the laundry room and into our kitchen. I opened the pantry door to grab our popcorn bucket, but it was full of mismatched lids and containers. Dumping it out onto the shelf, I shut the door and sighed. I’ll get them later.
I shook away the acknowledgement that I had no intention of cleaning up my mess. Looking around our expansive kitchen, I mused again at how empty it felt…about as empty as I was.
“We’ll be back in a couple of hours,” Tears threatened to spill out as Aaron kissed me goodbye. I felt like a shell of the vibrant woman who married him 8 years before. While I wasn’t depressed, I wasn’t happy either. I wasn’t sure what I was.
A few minutes later, I shooed Amelia and Grant into the crowded concession line at the movie theater. Glancing down, I saw Grant lying on the ground. “Grant! Stand up!”
No matter how early he’d gotten up that morning, I didn’t want to have to hold him while we stood in line for popcorn.
I looked at my adorable kids and shook my head. A couple days before Amelia told me she was tired because Grant was waking her up at 5:00 a.m. every morning. I was incredulous. “Why?!”
“He just wants to play,” she told me.
No wonder they are fighting by 11:00 a.m. every day! If only there were a simple way to get more sleep…
“Mo-om!” Amelia insisted I come out of my head and back into the concession line. “What time is it?” She was the most time-aware 6-year-old child I knew. “What time does the movie start?! We’re going to be late!”
“Shhh. We’ll be fine.” I scowled. Having my thoughts interrupted irritated me, and I had no intention of going into this movie without popcorn.
There had been a time when I watched grown-up movies to stimulate creativity and intellectual analyzing. Now I went to children’s movies with the kids, hoping I wouldn’t poke my eyes out with boredom. And that’s why we’re not skipping the popcorn.
A few minutes later, we found seats in the front of the theater and started stuffing kernels into our mouths by the handful. I heaved a big sigh, wondering what the movie was going to be about. Based on the trailer, I expected Disney’s Frozen to be nothing but a fluffy children’s movie about a cute snowman and a reindeer.
The movie began and my disgruntled musings about my sleep-woes were interrupted by ethereal vocal sounds. I looked up to see Cinderella’s castle transitioning into the snowy dark of night and one big, bright, beautifully complicated snowflake.
Cocking my head to the side, I squinted. The dark mountainous landscape developing before my eyes seemed anything but fluffy. Out of nowhere, wide-toothed saws ripped through the mountain lake ice, and a chorus of men’s voices declared the dangers of a frozen heart.
I hadn’t anticipated a musical. I love musicals.
Soon, a castle near the mouth of a fjord appeared. Inside the castle, Anna jumped on her sister Elsa, as Elsa lay sleeping in bed. And then little Anna asked Elsa if she wanted to build a snowman. The girls, Anna and Elsa, appeared to be the same ages as Grant and Amelia.
Playful, early morning innocence cut through my icy exterior as violently as the sawing in the first scene. How did they know?
Quiet sobs escaped, and the eyes of my heart opened wide as Elsa created a magical winter wonderland experience for Anna. By the end of the “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” montage, enough tears had flowed to thaw the edges of my frozen heart.
Somewhere in my spirit, I sensed a voice whispering, “This movie is a gift to you, Andrea. Receive it.” So for the next two hours, my heart opened, and I wept as I watched my life unfold before my eyes in a beautiful metaphor on the screen.
~Excerpt “Prologue” from the book Unfrozen: Stop Holding Back and Release the Real You
Reach Chapter 1 by clicking on this button.
UNFROZEN is on sale at a special price of $2.99 (paperback $15.99).
The Kindle and paperback versions of the book are available through Amazon.com. Come find me on Facebook and let me know you downloaded and don’t miss the free bonus: “Unfrozen Video Discussion Guide” in the menu above this post. It’s perfect for friends or mother-daughter conversations.
This book will leave you feeling brave, encouraged, entertained and inspired. The great storytelling will make you want to read “just one more chapter” while the depth and wisdom offered will make you slow down and think about how it applies to your own story. Unfrozen will challenge and encourage you to not shrink away from who you were created to be. If you’ve ever felt frozen by your circumstances or stage of life or felt like you have to hold back a big part of who you are, this book is for you.
Susan Manes, Owner of Mathnasium, former Community Engagement Manger at Creative Trust Media
How refreshing! An imperfect author! Andrea’s raw reveal gives integrity to her infectious invitation. It turns out that God has chosen, loved, and released only the truly flawed, but uniquely fascinating, image-bearers to give voice to his love!
Neal Brower, MDiv, LLD
Pastor, Author, EFCA District Superintendent
Unfrozen would be a fantastic read for both adults and teenagers alike, and a great resource for parents and youth leaders to utilize with teens and young adults as well as women’s ministry programs.
Christina Klausen, MA
Recource Center Coordinator, Community Church Fond du Lac
Few books have the authenticity to change one’s perceptions of life or move one to action. This one does! I feel inspired, energized to become “unfrozen.” Through beautiful, descriptive prose, the author shares her own experiences and ways of overcoming fear, anger, resentment, confusion and so many other emotions that can hamper living life to the fullest, or as she says, “becoming unfrozen.” The stories are compelling and entertaining reading in themselves, but they also offer inspiring insights into how to make life changing decisions. It’s a great read for women of all ages.
She came into our room at ten o’clock, two hours after I put her to bed. I remember doing the same thing as a young girl. On the nights when I couldn’t stop thinking, I needed my mom to help me calm down so I could go to sleep.
“Mom? I can’t go to sleep.” She rubbed her eyes to push out the light, “I don’t understand what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
I walked Amelia back up the stairs to her room and explained the proceedure for her dance recital the next night. She was concerned because they had to move the recital to a bigger theater to accomodate the number of people who wanted to come. It would be a bigger stage.
I attempted to reassure her, “You’ll be fine, Amelia. You’ve performed on that stage a number of times before.”
“Ya, but not for dance!” She covered her face with her hands, anxiety coursing through her veins.
“Look at me, Amelia. It will be great. I will be there to help you backstage and you can trust your teachers. They’ve worked very hard to prepare. Just do what they say to do and you’ll have a great time. This will be a great opportunity for you to see how to overcome your fears by trusting the grown ups who are here to help you.”
Of course Amelia would have been more comfortable had they been able to have dress rehearsal on the bigger performance stage. There were a number of girls anxious about how things would go that night. Where would they change? How would they line up? Where would they stand on stage?
It’s not easy to step out onto a bigger stage the night of performance.
It’s not easy to step out onto a bigger stage in life, either.
Whether you’re headed off to college, moving into a promotion at work, or taking a conversation in a different direction than others expect, it’s hard to step out onto a big dark stage when you haven’t rehearsed there. It can feel intimidating or even paralyzing. You might want to run away.
Someone who knows the stage well.
Someone who believes you can do hard things.
Someone who can guide you step by step to the right place on stage and then be there to watch you dance.
It was a blast to see those dancers walk out onto the new stage last week and prove to themselves that they could do it. And we might not have done it perfectly, but their teachers and backstage moms were there for them every step of the way.
Who do you look to when you need a trusted guide to help you find your way and set you free to dance? Who needs you to be a guide as they set foot on a dark stage you know well? I am so grateful for those who have been there for me as I try new things and step out onto big dark stages.
If you want to take your thoughts and feelings and turn them into connection with others and impact on the world, I’m here for you. I’ve been searching for those very things myself for my whole life and I’ve figured out a few things along the way.
Every week I send an email on Wednesday to help you move from being thoughtful to becoming a thought leader in your relationships, community and the world. I know it can feel like a big dark stage, but if you want to figure out what to say and how to say it, the Voice Lessons email is for you.
Click the picture to join. It’s time to dance!