The Simple Thing You Can Do Right Now to Make a Difference

Did you know that I spend, on average, 10 hours a week writing a 600-800 word blog post? Isn’t that crazy? And the craziest part is that over half of that time is spent deciding on the personal story and the main point I want to share.

I would love to cut that time in half so I can offer more, and I’ve thought of a way to do it by learning more about you and what would benefit you.

You can help!

This is a link to a 10 question survey that can help me get to know you so I can serve you better. Any information you are willing to share would be incredibly helpful to me as I work on improving for the future. If you have any thoughts you would like to share but there is no box, just add your thoughts into any comment box and I will see it.

Please take the survey (—>here<—)

I truly value your experience and opinion. Thank you for sharing yourself with me.

And thank you for helping me make more time for moments like this.

Grant and Mommy


Remember This When You’re Ready To Make A Change

Have you ever come up close to a big, exciting turning point in your life and you freeze up? You may be excited for the new change and you may have been planning for it for months or even years, but when the time comes to “push the button” and make the change, crazy things start to happen.

Your brain scatters like confetti in the wind.

You have a sudden urge to eat everything in the pantry.

You would rather clean toilets than “push the button.”

I feel like that today. I sat down this morning, determined to write out three pre-planned blog posts and I got ZERO finished. I did everything but actually write in the five hours I had to work today.

Why? I’ve been asking myself that very question all day. And truthfully, I know the answer.

Press the buttonBecause there are big changes coming. I’ve been working and thinking and planning for months to grow my blog into a business that will make a difference, but just as I was about to “push the button” to set the change in motion, a cold wind blew up my spine and I froze up.

I’m nervous as all get-out that I’ll fail.

Offering Yourself is Vulnerable

One of the most vulnerable things you can do is offer yourself to others. It can be so scary to put yourself out there that you decide you’d rather hide. I hid for a very long time. Here are a few of the thoughts that kept my offering behind closed doors:

  • Will my friends think I’m crazy if I do this?
  • Will people assume I think I’m better than them because I share my thoughts?
  • Will they misunderstand or misconstrue what I say?
  • Will they judge me or reject me?
  • Will they accuse me of things that aren’t true?

The list goes on and on so long that I wrote a book about it. The anxiety that comes with fears like these can paralyze a person or even send them running in the opposite direction.

You’ll be OK

But if there’s anything I need to hear right now, if there’s anything I could share with you about offering yourself, it’s this: You’re going to be OK.

As scary as each of the above scenarios sound, there is something even more scary. If we allow ourselves to stay frozen in fear, we will never offer the fullness of who we are to the world. We may never even know what the “fullness of who we are” even is. 

Not everyone will receive what you have to offer, but there is someone out there who needs it. Is it your child? Your spouse? Your friend? Your client? Who is suffering because you are frozen in fear?

Love them more than you fear them and you’ll find out that even if your fears come true, you’re going to be OK.

What changes are you about to make?

One Thing We All Need When Facing Our Fears

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.”

IMG_6338I 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.”

A Bigger Stage

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.

Trust Your Guide

children-1149671_1280You don’t have to run away when stepping into new territory. Quite likely there is someone who has gone before you.

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.

What big dark stage is waiting for you?

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!

Voice Lessons med.

Click to receive the Voice Lessons weekly email.


It’s Bigger Than A Dress: Part 1


Sometimes I scare myself. I think of crazy ideas to connect people and make an impact on the world but then every once in a while I actually say them out loud. Eeek!

After participating in something called “Dressember” last year, it occurred to me: “It would be awesome to gather a team of people to participate in Dressember with Amelia and I next year!” All they would have to do is wear dresses every day in December, raise money and spread the message. Right? By this November, I was nervous as all-get-out to throw the idea out to the world. What if no one joins us after I put myself out there and actually ask for help? But I was committed, so I explained our mission and invited others to participate with us (read more about Dressember here). After a few days with no response, a number of women and some of their friends joined our team called #YourVoiceMatters. These women are passionate and powerful and I am thrilled to introduce some of them to you in a couple of posts entitled It’s More Than A Dress.

As of today, our team is comprised of 13 adults and two girls. We have raised $975 of our $3000 goal! Check out the creative ways each of these women are using their voices and their gifts to amplify the voices of others. Each woman has her own fundraising page that connects to our overall #YourVoiceMatters team page. Donate through them and you’re donating through our team.

Olivia Youngs: Wife to AJ, Mom to two girls, Writer and Coffee Lover – View More: about simplicity        North Platte, NE

Why are you participating in Dressember? 

My roommate from college participated in Dressember last year, but because I was breastfeeding my oldest daughter at the time, decided not to join in (wearing a dress isn’t the most convenient choice for breastfeeding moms). This year though, as I’m nursing my second baby, I realized that it was too great a cause and too huge a problem for me not to participate. I’ve blogged about it here and am selling handmade items to fundraise here.

What does the phrase “your voice matters” mean to you?

“Your voice matters” is an incredibly empowering phrase. To me, it means that I have the ability to make an impact; that my words mean something, no matter how inadequate they may feel.

Rachael Miller: Author, Artist, and Wife to a green-eyed Tolkien enthusiast.    Greeley, CO

Why are you participating in Dressember? IMG_0776

I was approached by my sister-in-law Olivia Youngs about joining Dressember. She was really passionate about participating this year, and wanted to know if several of her friends and family members wanted to join. At first, I was hesitant about joining the movement. Though I do care about the issue of sex trafficking, I didn’t feel passionate about it like I thought I should. The “challenge” of wearing only dresses for a whole month was intriguing, but I wanted my heart to be in it for the right reasons. I didn’t want Dressember to become just another thing I was doing because my friends were doing it. Also, I lived far away from the other members of the #yourvoicematters team, if I were to do this, I would be practically alone.

Even now, though I still do not feel a burning inside my heart for the cause, I’ve realized that supporting something can function a lot like love. When you love someone, you may not always feel passion for them; love is a choice to remain committed. From the moment I put on my first Dressember dress, I was choosing to offer more than my passion. I was offering my support and my commitment to ending this great evil of our time.

I’ve made origami dress ornaments available for a donation of any amount to the cause.

What does the phrase “your voice matters” mean to you?   

It means that whoever you are, whether you have a large circle of influence or a small one, you still leave your mark upon the world. Choosing to speak up or remain silent—both have an impact on the future.

Jenny Maestas: Lactation Consultant (I help moms breastfeed their babies)       Lincoln, NE

IMG_0991Why are you participating in Dressember?

I would hear about human trafficking, but really had no frame of reference for it. I didn’t really know any of the statistics or have an idea of how wide spread it was. I wanted to be forced to really look at the issue and learn more, that putting on a dress every day wouldn’t just be a normal routine in my day, but would serve as a reminder to look outside of my everyday and see what was really going on in the world. I work with babies every day in my job, and I want to play a part in creating a safer, more secure world for them in the future, as well as for my own children.

What does the phrase “your voice matters” mean to you?

It’s so easy to listen to all of the horrible news around the world and in our own backyard and think that there’s really nothing you can do to make a difference in it. It’s easy to live in fear. But that’s a lie that I can so easily believe, when in reality, each of our voices collectively has the potential to create real change in our world. We can give a voice to those who are unable to speak for themselves.

Lanae Pierson: High School Biology Teacher     Columbus, NE

Why are you participating in Dressember? 10317804_10204216190274706_8704194780087415230_o

I saw that my friend Jenny Maestas was doing Dressember.  I spent a few days thinking about whether I should donate to her campaign or just join her team.  Since ending human trafficking is something I believe strongly in, but have never done anything about, I decided to join her team.  Though I do want to raise money to help International Justice Mission and A21, my primary reason for joining the Dressember campaign is to build awareness.  I’m doing so by taking a daily picture of me in a dress holding a sign that gives a fact about human trafficking.  I further expand on each fact in my blog (

What does the phrase “your voice matters” mean to you?

It means that although the issue of human trafficking is huge, what I have to say about it is important.  I, as a single person, can make a difference in this world.  This is why I didn’t just donate money to the Dressember campaign; I became a part of it to build awareness.  My voice matters (and yours does too)!


Click here for the #YourVoiceMatters Dressember Team page.

Life Is Fun so Take Initiative!

I have to say, being a regular contributor to Her View From Home is a ton of fun! Check out the interview from this week. I give you a little taste here, but please click the link to read the full interview.

In the interview I answer the questions:

  • When did you start blogging and why?
  • What are your favorite sites on the net?
  • What does a typical day look like for you?
  • What advice to you have for someone who wants to share his/her story?
  • What story are you most proud of?
  • How can people follow you?

Here’s how it starts:

Tell me about yourself.

My husband Aaron and I have two awesome elementary kids with a ton of ideas and initiative. (I just wish initiative wasn’t so messy!)IMG_1845

As a writer, speaker and friend, I am particularly drawn to kids and adults who feel like their deep thoughts and intense feelings are trapped inside. I totally know what it’s like. I help people navigate the deeper places of the soul in order to release their authentic voice and creative self-expression. I am currently in the editing process of writing a book about my own journey from soul-protection to soul-expression. Subscribe to my email list for resources and information.

I co-founded a special community with Gallup-certified Strengths Coach and John Maxwell Team member Laurie Hock. Born For This is a growth-minded community that awakens aspiring leaders, activates influencers, and amplifies the impact we can create together. The February 2016 Born For This workshop in Kearney, Nebraska will be a highly engaging, interactive weekend designed for you to experience with your group of friends. Registration opens soon!

When I chose my bachelors and masters degree programs, I had no idea that Music Education and Counseling Ministries would prove to be the perfect preparation for my work as a writer today.

Read more:

Featured Writer of The Week: Andrea Wenburg

Keep Calm: We’re All Fragile

Teachers, you never know what words will ring in your students’ minds for life. I was a music education student at the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2000. Though I don’t recall the title of the class, I vividly remember the day Dr. S nailed us to the wall. We were discussing leadership principles and classroom management when the hammer came out.

“Don’t you EVER yell at a kid for your poor classroom management.”

After peeling myself off the back of the band room wall I sat taller and more intent on taking responsibility for being proactive and giving students tangible ways to stay on task rather than blaming their behavior for my own lack of direction.

I Still Remember

Keep Calm
The command follows me around as a parent.There are moments when it all goes well – when everyone is happy and learning and getting along. I love feeling like I’m one step ahead of the kids. But sometimes I’m three steps behind them and I feel horrible. Sometimes I heave big sighs and pull my hair because of how they are acting. And (believe it or not) sometimes I yell at them for my own poor “classroom management.”

I find it difficult to balance the parent-guilt with the child-blaming.

Who is at fault for this behavior right now? Why am I getting so upset? Would someone else please come manage this classroom?!

One thing I have figured out is that sometimes my kids need help calming down. I wrote about this in a Her View From Home article recently. (Click here to view the article.) It’s not always easy for me to calm myself down, so why would I expect my children to calm themselves down in the midst of a tantrum? I think that “classroom management” in this setting looks a lot like a calm mom calming her children and informing them of the consequences of their inappropriate actions later, when everyone is at peace.

Man, is staying calm exhausting! But I definitely notice that when I make threats and allow my intensity to rise, it makes the situation more volatile. And none of us need that.

Keep On Keepin’ On

It’s not easy to write about this kind of thing. I hear my own declarations ring in my ears every time I get upset. I want more for our kids. I want more for their parents. I want to set up the classroom of our home in such a way that our anxiety runs low and our passion runs high.

It takes an enormous amount of time, energy and determination to manage a home with kids. And we all do it differently. So to the parents out there, here’s your virtual hug from me. Keep on keepin’ on. I know it’s exhausting. I know we mess up. And I know we all need to be gentle with ourselves and our kids. Let’s manage our homes with calm hearts. 

For more information about how to manage intense kiddos, check out Kirk Martin’s website Celebrate Calm (click here) or follow Celebrate Calm on Facebook. I’m a fan. 🙂

Just ask.

I should just ask.

I love discovering people’s unique contributions to the world and then celebrating them by receiving their offerings with open arms. But when I have a specific need to fill, I often look around aimlessly – wondering who will help me. I don’t ask others for help because I’m afraid I might not get a response. 

Being ignored feels worse than being invisible. Asking is risky.

Recently, I have been feeling the “need” for photos to use here on the blog. Images stick with me in ways words do not. That may sound crazy from someone who writes quite a bit. But it’s true. I’m the gal who prefers the movie over the book – most likely because I never read the book in the first place! (Can I say that?!) My brain imagines everything in diagram, so reading descriptions isn’t nearly as interesting to me as seeing the scene at the theater.

In fact, I remember my own blog post by the picture that accompanies it before I remember the title I gave it! So, finding an image to convey the message that flows out in each blog post is a big deal to me. I get lucky every once in a while with my own camera but I don’t really know what I’m doing. I toyed with the idea of learning more about photography, but I have SO many other things I want to do first.

So, week by week I look in the Creative Commons archives for images that speak what I am trying to say. And week after week I find ZERO joy in posting them.

Because I don’t know the photographer.

I tend to believe in finding jobs for the right people instead of finding the right person for a job. It is an important value I hold. I often make choices based on people I want to connect with rather than qualities I want in an institution or activity. It’s not that qualities don’t matter, it’s that the relationship oftentimes means more.

Empowered by this relational focus one night, I finally said to myself….

I should just ask.

And I did. You passed the word around and three very talented “amateur” photographers blew me away with their response. I couldn’t wait to share them with you!

Linda Liljehorn

Laura Bernero

Jennifer Brungardt

I am so grateful to them for opening up their archives to Live & Love Deeply. You will see more of them in the future.

Thanks as well to Christina Klausen Photography for her water image used for the title of this blog and this beautiful image of our daughter, used on my first breakout post about how Frozen changed my life:

I feel a deep connection with others when their art and my art dance. Maybe you’ll feel it too.

And maybe next time I’ll remember that people don’t know I need help until I ask. It’s worth the risk.

If you are interested in contributing a photograph or a few to the message of Live & Love Deeply, please email me for more information. Thank you!

If you would like more thoughts on living and loving deeply, sign up for email notification of new posts on the right side or bottom of your screen. And as always, you are welcome to share with your friends!

Thank you, Friend!

Saying No To Something Wonderful

Sometimes saying yes to something new,
means saying no to something wonderful.

I absolutely, positively cherish small groups. For many years, leading a small group has been my thing. Young adult women in Chicago, college women in Hastings, and young moms in North Platte. My heart swells as I picture these uniquely amazing women and recall what it was like to know each other deeply.Uprising

When masks come off and real comes out to meet Love, miracles happen. The hidden is seen. Wounds are healed. Deep connections are made. Vision is cast. Love is released. It is hard to hide when a group interacts like that. It is hard to pretend. And for that reason, a lot of ugly comes to the surface. A lot of doubt and fear and demand.

Many people avoid digging deeper to uncover the real. It’s terrifying. Dangerous. Exposing. Vulnerable. And people inevitably get hurt. I may unintentionally be the cause of someone else’s pain when they reveal themselves. They may be the cause of mine.

But today I want to shout: It’s WORTH the risk! It’s worth asking for forgiveness. It’s worth offering forgiveness when others hurt us. It’s worth the pain of brokenness to be made anew with more love than you can imagine. It’s worth persevering in relationship.

You are worth it.

Today the small group I’ve been leading for four years concluded. My new yes meant it was time to say no to this something wonderful. Small GroupWith incredible courage we spoke life-giving, sending words of love and appreciation for one another. I get goosebumps thinking about the power in that room. I will miss being with them in that sacred space. We all will.

But it’s time for something new. It’s time for each of us to be released to offer ourselves and connect with others in new ways. Last night, while preparing for today, I came across a new song by Nichole Nordeman (video below). I’ve had it on repeat for 24 hours.

This is the unmaking, the beauty in the breaking
Had to lose myself to find out who you are.
Before each beginning, there must be an ending.
Sitting in the rubble, I can see the stars.

Have you unmasked and allowed the real in you to be seen and met with great Love? Are you curious what it would be like? Will you muster up the courage to try? Are you willing to say no to something wonderful you can say yes to what comes next for you?

If you are looking for a place to start, try inviting a couple of friends to coffee. Read a book, the bible, a blog post. Share something real. Real feelings, real fears, real thoughts – and show some real love.

Here’s a YES! to the unmaking of each of us – and to new beginnings.


Andrea Joy

A “Single” Scoop For You

I wonder if any of us realize the impact another person makes on us until we are forced to say goodbye? Mourning those we love seems to open the door to a deep reflection that explores the intangible dynamics of a relationship. It gives us a chance to remember and smile and cry and shake our heads. Because, let’s be real. It’s not like anyone is perfect.

The post Grandparent Magic was largely inspired by my paternal grandparents. They had an incredible and lasting influence on many people, but they had their quirks! ☺

Grandpa Bill was a leader – and leaders often have strong opinions. One of my favorite stories about Grandpa took place one of the many times he went to Goodrich for an ice cream cone. Grandpa ordered a single scoop of (what I imagine to be bubblegum) ice cream. The Goodrich worker put the standard two scoops for the “single” on his cone and handed it to Grandpa – who proceeded to flick the top scoop of ice cream onto the counter. “I said a SINGLE scoop.” And he walked out the door.

Tito Perez - Creative Commons

Tito Perez – Creative Commons

This week I have a treat for you…a “single” blog post – Goodrich style! My first article to be published elsewhere is running in an online magazine called Her View From Home.
It is called, “This Too Shall Pass” and is a tribute and reflection on the phrase that embodied my Grandma’s hope in God, not her present circumstances. I hope you will read it and share it with many others.  Thank you!!!!!!

Don’t flick the scoop off and walk out quite yet…

Click here: This Too Shall Pass