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Good Words

Friends, my playlist is about to get a major Mama makeover. Elliott and I have never been the kind of parents to keep our preferred music away from our son. Sure, some of the content got watered down once little man’s ears started to pick up on words, but we never fully converted our music of choice over to a Kidz Bop-approved variety. Over the last year or so, Brooks – our son who is now five years old – has taken a special interest in singing along with me to the songs that are on my playlist. We sing in the car, he sings along with the music while I work out or while we run down back country roads. It’s kind of become our thing. When we get to the songs that are filled with uplifting messages – messages that reinforce our faith or encourage self-confidence – I always say, “Listen, buddy! These are good words.” After a few months of me reminding him to pay close attention to the lyrics in certain songs, Brooks has now started to ask me, “Mommy, are these good words?” wh

Running Toward Our Fears

Insecurity has followed me around my entire life. Can you relate? Even on my best days, when I seem confident, put together and in's always there. It might be lurking around the corner with me not making eye contact so I can effectively pretend I don't see it...but it's there.

Like most women - most humans - it comes from a lifetime of a lot of negative self talk with a bit of negativity from outside influences. (In my experience, the actual judgment and criticism of others is never as much as it feels like - it is emphasized by our obsessing over it and our own negative thoughts about ourselves. Nine times out of ten, other folks aren't thinking about us nearly as much as we believe they are.)

I grew up as a tomboy, a bookworm and a homebody. I had close friends, but most of them were guys. I ran cross country and track instead of cheerleading and hanging out with a more "popular" crowd of folks. Most Saturday nights, I was content to be at home, eating a steak that my Daddy had cooked on the grill.

I've never been great at fitting into the rhythm of the crowd - which is ultimately how I prefer it, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't come with some doses of self-doubt. We anticipate having all those insecurities overcome and put to bed by the time we get to adulthood...but then we arrive at that blessed destination only to find them still lingering about.

Insecurities are really just fears of being judged by others because of who we are or what we've done. I'm not sure that anybody ever truly finds a way to make them disappear (If you have, I want to talk to you! You have the secret to the universe, my friend!), but I think most successful folks find a way to put their insecurities in a box and put them on the shelf most of the time. The box might sit in your living room and you might walk by it every day...but that doesn't mean you have to open it up and willingly let its contents punch you in your pretty little face.

I had a lightbulb moment recently about insecurities and fears. I was driving to a Beautycounter training in Atlanta, and I was feeling pretty riddled with insecurities. While I was super pumped to RSVP yes to the training several weeks out, I started to talk myself out of it the closer it got to the date. The night before, I nearly had myself convinced not to go. And as I left my house that morning and drove toward Atlanta, I was having some pretty hard talks with myself.

And then this thought popped into my mind. It was like the One who created me dropped these sweet words down into my soul.

"You've been here before."

It sounds so simple, but this realization changed my entire perspective. In a matter of a couple of moments, I went from dreading the training - for fear of being the most awkward, the least successful, the one who CLEARLY knows the least about how to do her eye makeup - to reflecting on all the significant times in my life when I've felt this way before...and what an incredible ending each of those stories had.

I thought about how I had walked onto the Mars Hill College (now Mars Hill University - hey, fancy!) campus in the fall of 2003 as a skinny runner girl from Georgia who knew no one, wasn't very fast and probably didn't have any business running collegiate cross country. Especially in the mountains. On a team that won its conference championship. Every year.

I left that campus in 2007 with a group of friends who had become like family, the man who would become my husband and the satisfaction - and sheer JOY - of having worked my backside off to secure my place among the top five ladies on that team that I didn't have any business being on.

In the next instant, I saw myself sitting in an interview in 2009 for my very first entry-level marketing position at The Classic Center - the event venue where I work. I was young, newly married and I didn't know jack diddly about events. (To be honest, I also didn't know that much about marketing...I just knew how to sell print ads, and I liked to write. Seemed like enough at the time.)

Thankfully, they took a chance on me and today, I oversee the team of folks who execute the company's marketing and manage our nonprofit foundation. I get to lead a team of ladies who each teach me more every day than I could ever dream to teach them.

We all have our seasons of life where we feel like The Little Engine That Could. When we doubt our own abilities and the way that we'll be received by others. We don't feel confident that we can make it to the top of the mountain, but we just keep saying, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." And then, what do you know? We make it to the top. We look down. We feel the sweet, sweet wind on our face and the smell of the air that only lives in the glorious high country. And we think about how tragic it would have been if we hadn't ever started climbing. If we had let our fears and insecurities keep us at the bottom. We would have missed it.

That's what I realized that day in the car, driving to Atlanta. I was in that place again, of not believing in my gifts, talents and abilities. Of assuming that others won't receive me well. Of being afraid of the dreams and the goals that I have for myself. This season of starting new projects...blogging, AFP,'s SO exciting. It literally thrills me. It wakes up my spirit and gives me a kind of energy and motivation that I didn't know I had. BUT. scares the ever living crap out of me. It makes me worry about what others will say. It makes me feel outside of the safe, comfortable nest that I have created for myself.

I'm reading a book right now called Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. (Side note: if you haven't heard of Rachel Hollis, please take five minutes to Google her, follow her on Instagram and purchase this book on Amazon. Then thank me later.) The chapter I just finished was about the lie of believing we need to make ourselves small. This section resonated with me so deeply, I took a picture of it and posted it on social media:

"I have so many goals and dreams for myself, and not one of them is small. They're big and wild and full of hope. They require faith and courage and a whole lot of audacity. I cannot get there, I will not get there, unless I start embracing every side of my character - including the sides of me that make other people uncomfortable.

This is what occurred to me at the conference that day: I cannot continue to live as half of myself simply because it's hard for others to handle all of me."

Sweet Lord, it was like Rachel Hollis was looking at this season of my life and writing a letter straight to my scared, insecure heart. What the rest of the world says about me and my dreams really doesn't matter, does it? And maybe I don't deserve to have these dreams that thrill my soul if I'm going to be too fearful to chase after them.

That's some good, hard, beautiful, sweet truth right there, friends. And all of this goodness ran through my mind in a matter of about two minutes, as I drove myself to that Beautycounter training in Atlanta. And you know what? It was awesome. I met incredible, driven, passionate women that I never would have met if I'd stayed home. I left inspired and motivated and ready to take the next steps in tackling these goals that I've set for myself. I might be at the base of the mountain, looking up...but I've been here before. I'll call on those experiences to get me through this one. And no matter the outcome, I'll be better for having tried.

Cheers to our dreams, friends. Cheers to naming them, chasing them down and squashing every fear that gets in the way of them.

(P.S. - The picture at the top is a road on Mars Hill's campus where our team used to do hill repeats. I ran toward a lot of fears on that road. But it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. The sweet irony of that isn't lost on me, and I hope it's not lost on you.)


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