About the Voice of Influence Podcast

00 Episode & Transcript

In this episode you’ll learn about the premise of the Voice of Influence podcast and what you can expect.

  • Do you want to know that you belong somewhere and your voice can make an impact?
  • Maybe you know your voice matters, but you want to make it matter more.
  • Why my creativity, sensitivity and intensity is both a blessing and a struggle.
  • Andrea connects her experience as a vocal student at Belmont University and the University of Nebraska – Kearney with the idea of developing a Voice of Influence.

Mentioned in the podcast:

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Transcript

Hey, hey! It’s Andrea Joy Wenburg and you’re listening to the first episode – the About episode of the Voice of Influence podcast. In this episode I’m going to share with you just a little bit about myself and the premise of the podcast and what you can expect.

So I am Andrea Joy Wenburg, author of UNFROZEN: Stop Holding Back and Release the Real You. I grew up in Holdrege, Nebraska. I loved my experience there. I had lots of great friendships, amazing teachers and opportunities to learn and grow. And what I found out there was that I could sing. Now, this podcast isn’t about the singing voice, but it relates so give me just a minute to tie it all together for you.

I found out that I could sing and it was something that I really loved to do. I would get up in front of an audience and sing and I felt like I could really connect with the audience. I felt like they were hearing my message and when I was particularly in the zone – feeling the message in the song, I felt like I was really connecting. And I thought, “you know what? I want to do this for the rest of my life. I want to connect with an audience like that.”

So I ended up going to school at Belmont University in Nashville, TN because I thought I wanted to be a recording artist. I wanted to stand up on stage and connect with an audience.

Well, it didn’t take me too long to realize that I actually don’t have the drive to do what it takes to pursue that dream and that though I wanted to be the next Sandi Patty (a gospel singer at the time), I realized when I got down there that there were a lot of other girls wanting to be the next Sandi Patty, as well. So it became evident that I didn’t have that start quality or the drive to pursue that dream.

I redirected my focus to helping other people find and use their voices. I went back to school in Nebraska to become a music teacher. Now, what was interesting is that I refused to even apply to this school when I was in high school because I thought, “I’m never going to be able to stretch my wings in Nebraska.”

Well, when I got back to UNK, my experience with a vocal instructor there went above and beyond any music experience I had in Nashville, which was surprising to me. When I stepped into Dr. Foradori’s office, she asked me “So, Andrea, do you know about this or that” and I said, “Ya, I get all this!”

But as we got going in lessons she realized I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. And at one point she said to me, “You know, Andrea, once you really understand what it means to connect your breath, you’re going to carry with you a foundation for singing that’s going to carry with you no matter what you sing. Once you understand this one concept and it really clicks inside of you and you get that, it’s going to totally transform the way you sing everything else.”

Eventually I did get that concept and it did totally transform the way that I sang everything else. I did have that support underneath of me with breath and what it took for me to sing like I wanted to sing.

Now, I say all of this because since then I have focused more on what it means to find and develop a voice of influence in the world, because there is something else that I really care about.

I’m somebody who cares a lot about – and I think maybe everybody does – that we want to know that we have a seat at the table. And when I say seat at the table, I’m thinking like when you walk into a cafeteria and there’s a bunch of people sitting and you wonder, “where do I fit?”

And when I say seat at the table when talking about is when you walk into a room and there’s a bunch of people sitting around maybe it’s like a cafeteria and you’re wondering, which table do I fit at? Where do I fit?” This is something that I really struggled with in my life. I wondered “where do I really fit?”

Well, it’s nice to have somebody turn around and say, “Well Andrea, why don’t you sit down at our table. We want you to sit here.” That feels great because then you feel like you belong and are excepted and you connect. With other people. The thing that I really realized, though, was that’s not the only thing I want. I also want to know that when I say something, it matters. That my voice makes a difference. So, if you’re sitting at that table and you’re thinking, “I don’t really feel like these people are listening to what I have to say.” Or you start to speak up and they say, oh that’s stupid.” Or they write you off. Or they say it doesn’t matter, or whatever. They don’t have a respect for what you have to say for your vioce.

That’s a little harder place to be in. Because then it feels like you are being used, not like I belong and I making a difference, “they invited me to sit here, but I’m not actually getting to have an impact on the dialogue.” Which is different than saying, I want to have all of my ideas taken for everybody to believe everything that I say, and that the buck stops here, kind of thing. I’m not saying that.

I’m saying that we want to have our voice matter in the dialogue of life.

So, when I think about that, and I think about the voice of influence and what that means how that relates to what it means to have a voice, I realized that there is something really special about this idea of the connecting of breath on the one side, and how that applies to the way that we connect with other people with our voice of influence. When we have certain things, When we change certain things about the way that we speak that or message or the way that we are communicating, when we change those certain things, or we get those certain things, then our voice, no matter where we go, in our relationships, at home, at work, or in the world. Whatever audience you’re trying to speak to, when you really carry with you that voice of influence, it will matter more with everybody, everywhere you go. And your voice and message has a better shot of actually making a transformational difference in the life of the person you are speaking with.

Because, when we really do have that voice of influence, it’s not just about saying, “this is what you should do, this is what I want.” That sort of thing. It’s not necessarily that, because we can always try to shame people into doing what we want them to do. But that’s not the kind of person I think you are. You are the kind of person who really once to make a difference in the heart of a person. Because you know that when somebody changes on the inside, it’s going to come out in so many different ways on the outside. And that is way more powerful than just changing and outward thing.

So, this podcast is about developing a voice of influence, understanding where it comes from, why we are the way that we are. Who we are. What we really want to say, and how we can say it in a way that is truly a transformational kind of message.

That is the basic premise of this podcast.

I want to mention that last year I published a book called UNFROZEN: Stop Holding Back and Release the real you. And that book is actually my story about me and my voice. So, if you are ever interested in reading or listening to that book – I am currently working on the audio version and it will hopefully be out very soon. So, if you are listening to this in the near future, it’s probably out. You can look it up on Amazon or find it here.

It’s my story about me, and trying to understand what my voice is like. Coming to grips with the fact that I am super creative, but also really sensitive and that being creative, sensitive and having a lot of intensity – that those things altogether became both a great power, and a great struggle. And something that could actually get in the way of me using my voice and connecting with other people.

That is what the book is about, and I would encourage you to check it out if you’re interested. And now I want to tell you what you can expect from this podcast.

We are going to be on a regular rhythm of 1, 45 minute interview and one short after show kind of episode where I will be speaking for maybe five minutes, reflecting on something that came up in the episode before that. The interviews will be interviews with experts, leaders, Thought leaders – people who really have well-developed voice of influence or something they can really speak to that would be helpful or interesting to you.

It’s really important to me that you don’t just listen to the interviews and forget them. So I want to offer these little episodes that you could listen to on the way to work or whatever, and be something you could chew on that would really make your voice matter more.

That’s the basic rhythm, that we will have an interview and then a short segment. And for April we will be doing an interview and a short segment, two times each week. We will be doing a lot of those episodes in here in April 2017 and after that we will settle into a rhythm of an interview on Monday and a short segment on Thursday each week.

That is the basic premise and what you can expect from this podcast. I also want to let you know that I’ve opened up a Voice of Influence Community Facebook group for message-driven leaders. So if you are interested in communicating with other people who want to develop their voice of influence, and discuss different things that come up on the podcast, then that would be a great place for you. I would love to have you.

And the final thing I want to mention to you is that in every beginning and ending of the podcast, we say, “Your voice matters, but you can make it matter more.” And what I mean by that, is that inherently, because you are a human being created by God, your voice – your thoughts and feelings and how you express them, that matters. And no matter what anyone tells you, I believe that you matter, and your voice matters.

However, I do think that there are some people who are able to develop that voice in such a way, that we can make it matter more. Meaning, we can make a bigger difference. So although you really cannot matter anymore or less in one sense, in another sense, in the sense of how much impact you have on the world, and relationships and things like that, you can make your voice matter more. You do that, by developing it. You do that by using it.

It’s just like when I was in Dr. Foradori’s voice studio and she would have me sing, and if it didn’t come out right, she would have me mimic her, or she would give me the tools that I needed, or she would suggest that I try something new and feel something different in my mouth or that sort of thing. And she would also help me find the right music for my voice. Which, I think is like finding the right message for your voice of influence.

There are many different correlations that I will be making or referencing here on the podcast, but my point in the end is that I really hope you will take the time to develop your voice of influence. And rather than just be somebody who sings every once in a while in the car so that nobody else can hear them, if you are listening to this podcast, it is because you don’t just want to sing in the car. It’s because you want your voice to matter beyond the immediate where you are at right now. You wanted to matter in your relationships, in your home, in your work, and in the world.

So, that’s what we’re here for. I am so glad that you are here. And I hope that you will join me in the voice of influence community Facebook group. You can find a link to that here or search for it in Facebook.

Thank you so much for being here in this about me episode. I am truly honored that you have given me a few minutes of your time today and anytime that you come back, man! I am really honored that you would take the time to be with us. So thank you.

Your voice matters. Now let’s make it matter more.

Join the Voice of Influence Community Facebook Group here.

Your Voice Matters, But You Can Make It Matter More

I nearly floated out onto the stage as the crowd put their hands together in an audible wave of anticipation. “This is where I belong. On stage, moving the audience with my voice,” I thought.

But then as I glanced at the red curtain and the dimly lit auditorium, I had a strange sense that I’d been here before. My stomach began to make its way to my feet. Music played and I took a breath. Just as the first note began to roll out my lips, I realized I didn’t know the song at all. Attempting a professional moment of pulling it together, I looked down and then realized in horror: I was completely naked!

A cold shriek came out instead of the first note of the song and shame ran me off the stage where I grabbed the curtain to shield myself from view. Moments later I opened my eyes find myself sitting up in bed, wrapped in blankets, breaths coming in rapid succession. I had indeed been here before, in this recurring nightmare.

That’s when the weight of the moment hit me: I might have a voice that can get me in front of an audience, but it is insignificant and even wasted if I don’t do the work to prepare.

Your voice matters, but you can make it matter more.

I know I have what it takes to move an audience with my voice, but when I overestimate my innate ability and experience, I end up spending an insufficient amount of time and effort in preparation to use my voice effectively. My voice matters, but I can make it matter more if I take the time to develop it and learn the song in my heart – the right song for my voice.

The same is true for you.

You may be or want to be someone who influences others with what you do and say, but trust me. It doesn’t just happen. And the truth is that many people think they are making a difference when all they’re really doing is exposing themselves and pulling out a reaction rather than truly moving their audience. If you want your voice to carry the weight of significance, you need to develop your voice, your message and the way you deliver it.

Your voice matters inherently because you are a human being. However, your voice can matter more when you take time to prepare and develop your style, your message and your strategy. You make a bigger impact on every stage in life when you carry with you a Voice of Influence.

Your Voice of Influence

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.

This podcast is for men and women creative leaders who care about the people they serve at home, work and in the world and want to make their voice matter more. I will be publishing the podcast audio and transcripts here on the blog and you’ll be able to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, etc.

In order to be sure I show up on this podcast stage prepared and focused, I have been quiet on my blog and social media in 2017. I’m ironing out the look, sound and feel of the show with the help of a little team. The goal is to spread this message far and wide, so the strategy is to invite as many downloads, ratings and reviews on iTunes as possible when we launch in April.

The Voice of Influence Podcast art is in development – this is just something I created.

I am already booking incredible interviews with New York Times Bestselling authors, Internet marketing gurus, leadership experts, entrepreneurs, speakers, psychologists, etc. But these amazing interviews won’t see the light of day without your help. If you’re interested in helping, there are three levels of involvement, outlined below. I’m taking this very seriously, so I’m offering a thank you package to the launch team level (LIMIT of 25 PEOPLE) that includes a big bonus!

3 Levels of Involvement

I’m guessing you already feel some kind of nudge to help out if you’ve read this far. Take a look at these options and identify which one fits you. Then share in the comments below or on the Facebook post.

  1. The “Interesting, I’ll have to check it out,” option. Follow me on social media or subscribe to this blog so you know when you can listen to the podcast. Thanks for the interest!
  2. The “I want to support you” option. Simply promise to subscribe and leave an honest rating and review on iTunes in April. I will explain exactly what it takes to do this so it takes very little effort on your part.
  3. The “I want to be a part of making this podcast a huge success” option. This is the Voice of Influence podcast launch team. I’m offering rewards for participation in the launch team, but it requires filling out an application by March 21st and will be closed when we reach 25 committed members. PODCAST LAUNCH TEAM APPLICATION

Voice of Influence Launch Team Member Thank You Package

(Value: $250 – Limited to the first 25 Accepted Applicants)

  • Insider knowledge when I book and record interviews with celebrities, leaders and experts. 
    • I already have some amazing people lined up and as soon as you’re in the launch team, I’ll let you know who!
  • Insider knowledge about the process of starting and executing a high-quality podcast, including a cheat-sheet of my podcast process from start to finish.
  • A Fascinate® Advantage personality assessment that gives your primary and secondary communication advantages and your archetype.
  • A high-quality, special training video from me (a Fascinate® Certified Advisor), explaining how the assessment works and how your results can transform the way you communicate at home, work and in the world.
    • If you know me, you know I’m OBSESSED with personality assessments. Well, this is my favorite assessment to help identify and develop your voice, so I promise, you’re getting something amazing.
  • I will create HIGH quality, individual coaching videos for each person who completes the requirements for the launch team between March 31st and April 28th. This will take your Fascinate® results to a very practical and personal level, addressing your individual communication struggles and potential. You must apply for the launch team by March 21st to be considered for the launch team and receive these rewards.
    • I will be discussing this assessment some on the podcast and I have a coaching package in my business for this, so it’s truly exciting to offer this as a thank you!

Launch Team Requirements (March 21 – April 28th):

  • Fill out an application by March 21st here: PODCAST LAUNCH TEAM APPLICATION
  • Subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes the first week of April.
  • Share your enthusiasm about the podcast with your connections on social media a handful of times though April and May.
    • If you’re on or willing to get on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the launch period, that’s even better.
    • This could mean anything from re-tweeting/reposting my podcast posts to sharing an insight you gained from an episode you loved.
    • I will have certain requests in the month of April, but they will be related to sharing things on social media.
  • Join and participate in the Voice of Influence Launch Team Facebook group
  • Recruit/encourage others to subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes in April.

I’m so excited to share these amazing podcast interviews and actionable insights to empower you to know what you want to say and how you want to say it in relationships and in your creative contribution to the world!

Thank you for all you do to amplify my voice so I can help others. I am sincerely humbled and grateful.

What It Takes to Mother a Daughter Well

By Rosanne Moore

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?unnamed-3

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.

discussing-unfrozen-together-gave-me-a-chance-to-hear-her-inner-struggles-and-clarified-the-truths-i-want-to-pass-on-to-her

Check out the Free UNFROZEN Video Discussion Guide in the UNFROZEN Resource Center

  • Instead of always working to be better, she really doesn’t have to be perfect.
  • She can embrace and enjoy who she is and know that God enjoys her and that it’s not pride to delight in expressing her gifts for Him and others.
  • Rather than being burdened to prove herself worthy of life, she can simply be glad she’s alive.
  • Loving and being known is a risk worth embracing.
  • In spite of the many ways she feels pressure to be strong, to protect herself, God’s love is a place of rest for her where she can be weak and just be held.
  • No citizen of God’s kingdom is second-class, and it matters that she offer all that God has placed within her for the good of His kingdom.
  • Instead of fearing her own beauty or feeling unworthy of respect, her identity as a woman comes from responding to God, not filling a role designated by society or church or anyone/anything else. Her dignity is secured as His daughter.
  • More than anything, I long to see my girl freely offer whatever is going on in her heart, her reality of the moment, to God, knowing that she is fully loved and desired and treasured by Him, instead of trying to figure out how she’s “supposed” to live.

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.


RosanneblogcoverRosanne 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 rosannemoore.stories@gmail.com


The UNFROZEN Video Discussion Guide is here!

Watch Video 1.2 NOW!

Sign up for the 6 lesson discussion guide here. Use it to help you process your own story and build rich connections with someone you love – even your daughter!

…please share it with friends!…

The Book That Will Release the Creative You

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?

14317478_10153853027172555_3213682699467064735_nFrom Unfrozen to a Life Creative

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.

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Release the Creative You

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.

Is It Bad To Love Performing?

Our family loved offering our performance as a gift to others. However, the wise reminders to use my voice for God raised a concern in me that perhaps my intense desire to perform wasn’t good. I wanted to share the song in my heart, but I didn’t want anyone to believe I was doing it for the wrong reasons. If they thought I was looking for applause, they wouldn’t respect me. They wouldn’t listen to me and truly consider what I was saying.

Excerpt from UNFROZEN: Stop Holding Back & Release the Real You

Sweet Performers

It was dark out as we drove home from our first of three trips to The Dance Factory that week. As crazy as it sounds, I don’t mind the 15-minute drive. I enjoy the quiet moments to contemplate life while she’s in class and the few minutes of random conversation with her in the car. The ride home that night started like most others.

“How was dance tonight?” I asked my precious almostimg_7035
-9-year-old who sat staring out the window behind me.

“Good. We got to start learning our dance for recital.” A few blocks and bits of conversation later and Amelia casually inquired, “Why did you put me in dance?”

Her tone indicated a simple curiosity, so I answered simply. “Well, when we first moved here I wanted you to have the opportunity to be in a class. You were almost 4 years old and you love to dance, so we signed you up.” She giggled in affirmation. Our white caravan creaked down the dark road on the outskirts of town as I continued, “You complained about it constantly that first year. I assumed it was because you were required to work at paying attention the whole time. When summer came, I was ready to forget dance. But your dad wanted you to stick with it for a number of reasons and so we did. That next year you started to love it!”

“Because I got to perform!” Amelia revealed. We pulled up to a stoplight and I glanced in the rearview mirror at her softly lit grin.

Ah yes. My eyes went back to the road while my mind went back to the moment we realized we had a performer on our hands. She was 5 the first year she got to perform on stage at the spring recital. Her sequined costume wasn’t the only reason she lit up the stage that night. When Amelia stepped out under the lights, her entire being sparkled with joy. It still does. Every time.

I smiled as the breaks squeaked up to the next stoplight, because I get it. I’m a performer, too. Something in both Amelia and I turns on when we are in the spotlight. I can’t speak for her, but I know what goes on inside of me. I stand taller, dig deeper and release a more expressive version of myself. It’s as if I intuitively know that my self-expression is more than a single person can handle, so I save it for a crowd. The more people in the audience, the less of me one individual must hold. The more people in the audience, the more I can release. And I have a lot to release.

Performers get a bad rap.

Performers are often labeled as attention-seeking and fake. But great performers are some of the most self-sacrificing and genuine people I know. They are more true to themselves on stage than in conversation. Why? Because they were made for it. Something in them turns on when they step into the spotlight and they are free to release themselves with an intensity of expression that no single conversation can hold.

Performance is an opportunity for artists to transform their intense barrage of thoughts and feelings and turn them into a passionate expression. What feels like a self-centered battle on the inside becomes an others-centered song, dance, poem or painting on the outside. True performance, in my view, is not self-expression for the sake of self. It is disciplined self-expression for the sake of others.

So I admit it.

I take my young daughter to dance classes three nights a week because she is a performer. She needs it like she needs air to breathe. And I want my little performer to gain the humble confidence she needs to move with grace so she can express a true and transformed version of herself that blesses everyone around her.

Do any of these descriptions of performing resonate with you? Do you hold back so others won’t judge you as being dramatic or attention-seeking?

Portions of this post were originally published on Her View From Home

Your Frozen Heart is Worth It

“I wasn’t depressed anymore, but I wasn’t happy either. I wasn’t sure what I was.”

Unfrozen prologue (read it by clicking –> here<–)

I can tell you one thing I was. I was cold. It didn’t come out all of the time. Of course, I shared as much warmth as I could with the outside world by engaging with people in heart to heart conversations and mustering up as much kindness as possible. But when I was warm to the outside world, it was like I depleted my resources so when I got home I had very little warmth to give my family. It made sense, in a way. They asked more from me than anyone else. When I was around them I felt like a failure because they needed things from me I wasn’t sure I could give. So every request for me to meet their needs felt like a neon sign flashing “FAILURE! FAILURE! FAILURE!” I knew I shouldn’t resent my family for highlighting my weaknesses, but that knowledge only made me feel shame for the fact that I often did. It was a spiral of self-centered self-hatred and bitterness.

*Don’t miss out on the contest at the bottom of this post!!!*

IMG_7422What does it really mean to be frozen, anyway?

When H2O is in it’s liquid form, it can flow freely, in and out of the spaces open to its movement. But when it freezes, it’s stuck. It might clunk around from place to place, but it doesn’t move freely and it keeps it’s goodness to itself.

The life-blood of our hearts is like that. When our hearts are hard, it’s difficult or even impossible to give or receive love.

When I think of that frozen kind of feeling, I think of a coldness of heart. I think of a heart that is so scared of being further wounded that it hunkers down or runs away from the threat of pressure or shame. The frozen heart feels paralyzed, isolated or trapped.

And when I feel trapped, I feel like there’s no way out.

But there is away out.

Wherever you are right now, you are not stuck. You may have given up on the idea of being open to giving and receiving love. You may feel you have no choice but to hunker down or run away. But you do have a choice. The beauty of the image of a frozen heart is that all it needs is warmth to get back to the free-flow of love. And that warmth can come with a gradual change in temperature or it can come in instant waves of heat.

One of the first things that has helped me in the thawing of my own heart is to come out of isolation and bring my heart into the light. But that was the last thing I wanted to do. I didn’t want to admit how fragile I was and then be vulnerable to the possibility of being broken. I didn’t want to admit how ugly I felt inside and then be vulnerable to judgment and shame.

I wanted to watch NCIS and Castle and eat away my longing. Sometimes I still do.

But that’s not the answer. We need a safe haven for our hearts. An environment where we can lift our eyes to see one another – to come out of hiding and gently begin to share the truth of what we think and feel.

You must decide that your heart is worth it.Your frozen heart is worth mining.

The very first image of Disney’s Frozen is the image of huge saws ripping through a thick layer of ice and a chorus of men singing about the dangers of a frozen heart. Then they claim that the frozen heart is worth mining.

Your heart is worth mining. Your heart is invaluable and you have an immeasurable amount of love to offer others. But you have to take the first step.

You have to decide that your heart is worth mining. 
I long to see your heart thaw so you can give and receive love freely. I long to keep mine soft and open. I long for my daughter to have a foundation for understanding that she doesn’t have to hide in the cold and become paralyzed by the fear that once trapped me.
That’s why I wrote Unfrozen: Stop Holding Back and Release the Real You. I wrote it to:

  • bring my own life and heart out into the light to prove to myself that my heart is indestructible.
  • offer my life (our life) as an example of some of the struggles we all face in our relationships so you know you’re not alone.
  • begin a relationship with you, that you might find the space I offer to be a space where you can be free to mine your frozen heart.

Unfrozen Video Discussion Guide

I also want to offer you the opportunity to create your own safe space to vulnerably share and connect with others. That’s why I’m creating a free video discussion guide based on imagery from the movie and personal stories. You can use it with or without the book but it is a great companion to the book.  The features of this special video discussion guide are:Book_whitebg

  1. 6 Lessons for you and 1-3 other people to view together either once a week for 6 weeks or in any time-frame you choose.
  2. 2-4 videos in each lesson. The 3-5 minute long videos use illustrations from the movie, the book and other stories to set up questions you can use for discussion. It’s simple. Play a video, then have a conversation.
  3. PDF Downloads with the questions and room for you to journal your responses, if you so choose.
  4. PDF Downloads with biblical references to lay a foundation for how these lessons relate to your faith, if you desire to explore that.
  5. Access to a private Facebook group where we can interact and support one another on the journey. I will be available at least once a week to answer questions and offer ideas for you as you do the heart-mining work with your child, friend or spouse.

If you would like to check out the Unfrozen Video Discussion Guide, sign up Start Here to receive notification when it’s available and access into the private Unfrozen Community group next week. Only people who sign up through this link or enrolled in the video discussion guide will be able to enter the group.

Enter to win one of 3  packages (including the Unfrozen audiobook & audio of Unfrozen keynote speech, etc. – a $27 value) by doing the following by Monday, August 30th:

  1. Share this post on Facebook and/or Twitter and tell your friends why you’re sharing it. Each post is one entry, so count them and let me know in step 3.
  2. Sign up for email notification of the Unfrozen Video Discussion Guide release here —>Start Here.
  3. Comment BELOW this post (not on Facebook) and tell me you did steps 1 & 2. Please let me know what email you used when you signed up so I can contact you if you win! I MUST have your email address if you want to win because that’s the only way I know I can get ahold of you. Check back here and on my Facebook page, just in case!

**Previous winners are allowed to enter into this new drawing.***

Beware the Frozen Heart

Unfrozen Prologue

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.


Thanksgiving, 2013

Thanksgiving, 2013

“I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Aaron sighed. We were nearly home from spending Thanksgiving weekend with family.

“I know.”

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.

get-the-kindle-bestseller-for-2-99-3

Don’t forget your free bonus. Sign up for the Video Discussion Guide in the menu above this post.

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.

Read Chapter 1 Now


UNFROZEN is on sale at a special price of $2.99 (paperback $15.99).

AJW_FacebookProfileImage_11The 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.

Click Here for the direct link to the book!

What others are saying…

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.

Amazon Reviewer

Buy it here.

 

Unfrozen from Andrea Wenburg on Vimeo.

This is how I learned to write a book

About 18 months ago I set out on the journey to write a book inspired by the movie Frozen. I saw the movie as a beautiful metaphor for my experience with my own struggle to release loving self-expression and I wanted others to have the opportunity to understand the imagery in the film like I did. I started blogging to practice writing, test my ideas, grow my audience and get the courage to share incredibly vulnerable aspects of my heart and experience. Then a year ago I started the actual writing process.

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Rosanne Gridley, editor of Unfrozen

I almost immediately knew who I wanted to ask to be my editor. I met Rosanne at a course with Dr. Larry Crabb in Colorado Springs in 2012, before seeing Frozen. She started a Facebook group for our class and over the course of time, we shared many deep and transformational discussions. I recognized Rosanne as a woman of great depth and honor with a heart longing to express the love of God. I also knew she was an excellent editor.

When I sent Rosanne my first draft at the beginning of September, she let me down gently and shared a metaphor. “Writing a book is like having a baby. It takes a lot of time for the message to fully form and be ready for birth.” I wanted so desperately to publish my book before Thanksgiving, 2015. But Rosanne kept encouraging me and coaching me through a long and grueling process of writing and re-writing this year.

She also came up with the title Unfrozen.

One pivotal moment around December stands out in my mind. I sent Rosanne draft number 3 and we talked about my struggle with the structure of the book. I was fighting the idea of completely changing the format from a reflective study about Frozen imagery to telling more of my own story. Then from the other end of the line, my friend said, “God has already written your story and it’s a great story! You just need to get it out on paper.” 

This book truly wouldn’t be what it is today had I rushed the process and not paid attention to the wisdom to press into my own fear and actually tell stories of my life that led me through the incredible transformation of my own frozen heart. From that point I was committed to sharing my story, the story God had already written.

Now, after 12 months of writing and 5 completely re-written drafts, this baby is about ready to be birthed. I can hardly believe it. And just like labor, I know that the next month or so will be an intense ebb and flow of getting the book out to the world.

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Designed by Janelle Reed

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unfrozen Launch Team is closed. We look forward to sharing the book with you very soon!

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Thank you for being you. Thank you for reading these posts and for coming with me on this journey of vulnerably bold love that could truly change lives. You are brave and I look forward to getting to know you more as we interact even more in the days to come!

Inviting you to live unfrozen,

Andrea Joy

Stop Waiting to be Discovered; You Can Fight Darth Vader, Too

It wasn’t like she asked for the opportunity. We simply walked into the auditorium to save seats up close because we knew Grant was excited to see the Jedi training show on our Disney cruise.

Amelia Jedi TrainingA woman stopped Amelia in the aisle and inquired, “Do you like Star Wars?”

“Ya,” Amelia responded.

What was she supposed to say? She never showed an ounce of interest in it until that morning when she decided to join us for the little show, but it might be rude to say anything else.

“Would you like to come up on stage and be trained as a Jedi?” the woman offered.

“Sure,” Amelia shrugged.

My stomach sank to the floor and before I could stop it, I turned into the ungrateful mom who asks for an extra freebie for her other child. “Her brother would like it so much more,” I pleaded with my eyes as the words came out. I knew Amelia wouldn’t mind giving up her spot so her brother could do it.

But they didn’t have time to wait for him. So they whisked Amelia away and the next time we saw her, she was wearing a brown robe and holding a coveted light saber. Grant was giddy when he realized she was going on stage but by the time she had her turn doing what every Star Wars fan ever dreamed of doing (fighting Darth Vader!) the question hit him.

IMG_7442“Why her and not me?”

I knew exactly how he felt. For years I read other people’s books, watched other speakers give presentations and listened to other people’s podcasts. And all the while I wondered, “Why them and not me?”

Maybe you’ve asked that question before.

Why did he get that part and not me?
Why is she married and not me?
Why does he get to travel for work and not me?
Why are they happy in their marriage and not me?

I’m sure we can all come up with answers to those questions.

He sucked up to the director.
She’s must be more comfortable talking to guys than I am.
He’s been in the job longer than I have.
If I had a spouse like that I’d be happy, too.

Maybe there is truth to some of these assumptions, or maybe they are just excuses. My reason for not doing what I longed to do certainly was…

“Because they haven’t discovered me yet.”

Do you hear how passive that sounds? I was waiting and waiting for someone to see me in a crowd and say, “I choose you, Andrea. It’s your turn now!” Because I assumed that the powers-that-be were the only ones who could finally give me my big break. They were the ones who could decide if I’d get that book deal…that speaking engagement…that interview. I was waiting to be discovered so I could make the impact I longed to make. 

%22I don't know what you long to do, be or say. But whatever it is, you won't get there by waiting to be discovered.%22

 

The statement, “God will make it happen if it’s supposed to happen,” is just as passive.

Yes, I just said that. Do you want to know why? Because whatever you believe about God, you still have to get up out of bed in the morning and put one foot in front of the other. God doesn’t do that for you.

Sometimes YOU have to act. YOU have to move.

You work your tail off for the next part.
You take risks to become more comfortable around guys.
You display the integrity, intelligence and grit it takes to travel for your job.
You stop demanding your spouse to make you happy and find your happiness in something more reliable.*

What are you waiting for?

Grant was quite disappointed by the time the Jedi training concluded. He tucked his head into my neck and I picked him up to carry him out of the auditorium. I let everyone else move on and then I paused in the aisle to speak to my son.

“Grant, I know you’re disappointed, but that happens a lot in life. Look up at that stage. Do you want to be up on that stage someday? If you really do, I believe you can. If you want to be a magician or get a job as a Lego Creator, I believe you can. But those things don’t just happen. You have to focus and work hard for it instead of being upset with others when you’re not chosen.”

Grant came home with all of the moves Amelia learned in her Jedi training and now the boy is ready to fight his own Darth Vader.

I don’t know what you long to do, be or say. But whatever it is, you won’t get there by waiting to be discovered. Take a risk and take action. Someone needs what you have to offer. 

*Relationships are complicated. Please seek wise counsel if you are struggling in your relationships.  

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Would you like to read my story? Read the Prologue HERE or go directly to Amazon to purchase the book HERE.