About two years ago, I decided it was time for me to write a book. Fast forward two years, it’s written, published and has just been released! I’ll share my inspiration and motivation for writing it as I go. I have always loved to write and it usually comes pretty natural to me (unless I’m trying too hard…then nothing flows). When I was in college and it was time to decide a major, I chose to pursue a degree in Journalism and Public Relations. I really had no idea what of “what do I want to be when I grow up?”, but if it involved writing, it seemed like it would at least be a natural route to a road that was right for me.
Chasing my independence and a needed paycheck after college, I quickly got off course from a career in writing, following more of my minor in marketing and business management into the field of Commercial Interior Design and Contract Furnishings. That’s a big book all in itself but I want to stay on track telling you how I got back to writing. There are many “Sharon’s-life” chapters from then until now– but it’s my most important chapters of being a mom of 3 daughters and my experience with girls that brought me back to “what do I want to be when I grow up”.
Having girls and working with girls in many different volunteer capacities made me fall in love with wanting to protect them and help build them strong. I feel God intended me for this role and I cherish it with all of my heart. I didn’t intentionally acknowledge that’s “what I wanted to be when I grew up” but that “position” has felt very natural, purposeful and important to me. In addition to being a mom of 3 daughters, I have been involved with dance teams, sports teams, schools, children at church, sororities–you name it. I have also been a volunteer in a Mother and Daughter organization for 14 years working with girls in leadership, community service and cultural awareness. I have spent the last 26 years being around a lot of girls! Having so much time and experiences with them, I began to see how society was playing a very harmful, serious role in shaping how they felt about themselves. I hated what I was seeing. It was breaking my heart. I felt compelled to be a loving, counteractive voice to society’s harmful messages to them.
Seemingly overnight, I saw these fun, precious girls go from being happy go lucky and confident to feeling stressed that they could never measure up to what our world is expecting of them. They are bombarded with unrealistic expectations of superficial beauty, body type, and hyper overachievement in all areas-and social media is magnifying it! These relentless messages begin at younger and younger ages and are harmful to their self-esteem and well-being. Far too many young women are suffering from anxiety, depression, eating disorders, sleep issues, bullying or lack of simple joy. I wanted to explore this and offer a way to shift focus away from these pressures and help them build themselves stronger. I wanted to help them empower themselves to grow in satisfying, meaningful ways that will bring them joy, inner strength and feel their true beauty.
So, I wrote my book “Grow Yourself Beautiful”! I hope to get it into the hands and hearts of any girls and young women needing it’s message. Writing it made me realize I’ve been doing “what I want to be when I grow up” for the last 26 years! Sharing my heart, time and experience, to inspire and help other people gives my life purpose. I love helping people build their strength. Honestly, it helps build mine too!
Sharing my experience, perspective and heart through writing is just another chapter in doing what I want to do when I grow up! The fun part is realizing, regardless of age, we are all still “growing up” until the day our life on earth is done.
I like being a light in a world that sometimes can feel very dark. Whether it’s in my personal relationships, with people on my path or the ones who read my book (books?) or blog–Young or old, male or female, if someone is needing a friend in their corner to help inspire them to build themselves in ways that will add to their comfort, strength, peace and joy, I hope they find it in me…I hope they find it in the writing I share. I hope my blog brings hearts needing it to my book and I hope my book brings hearts needing it to my blog. I’m not perfect. My writing won’t be perfect. My book, blog and website won’t be perfect. But if we wait to be perfect before we begin something…we will never begin anything. Let’s grow our lives beautiful together, there is strength in numbers!
My book ‘Grow Yourself Beautiful’ is available online: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iUniverse bookstore and Walmart
Somehow over the years, birth”day” celebrations have extended themselves in our house from a day to a whole week. As I began to realize it, I was like hey, what’s going on here… haha, but I have actually come to cherish it! I love it because it honors our family member and truly takes some time to acknowledge them as one of our blessings. After all, if we do this right, our family will be our forever friends!
I love what celebrating a birthday signifies! Besides the obvious of being the day someone is born, it’s the day someone we get to love and that loves us back was born! With busy lives, days can sometimes all run into each other. So why not spread a birthday over a week in order to really celebrate someone we love and show them what they mean to our life? How often do we have a week devoted to us for people to really see us and show us they care? Not only does it make them feel special, it makes us all reflect and take stock with that person. How are they at this age? What struggles have they faced or are they facing? What are their triumphs and joys? What are their hopes and dreams for their coming year? How have we been part of their support and how will we continue to help them grow? Can all of this really take place in a quick moment or day once a year? Of course, I think this is something I hope we try to do all year, but it gets blurry during our daily routines and hustle of life.
I’m not talking about an over indulgent week of “things” just promoting a week of really paying attention to that person we love and making sure they know how loved they are. Our family birthday week plans vary a little person to person based on what they like. They may include a family hike, movie night, homemade birthday cake or pie, favorite restaurant, home cooked meal of choice or all of the above. However, we all include our “favorite home cooked meal” night. Having someone make our favorite home cooked meal warms our heart, right? If you can have everyone sit down together at the same time and share your favorite meal, it becomes soul food!
Birthdays are so special because we really don’t know how long we have with each other. Just taking a simple life pleasure like a birth”day” celebration and extending it over week has been a fun bonding experience for our family. With 5 family members, it has brought 5 extra weeks of comfort and joy into our year, making hearts brighter and souls stronger!
This past week, we celebrated my hubby’s birthday! I’ve attached a picture of his homemade birthday meal request–and the Tyler Florence recipe I used. It was Smothered Pork Chops, rustic mashed red potatoes, homemade applesauce and sautéed spinach. It was very comforting, pretty easy and so tasty if you want to give it a try! https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/smothered-pork-chops-recipe-1941069
“New Year, New Me!!” How many times have we heard that since January 1st? While I understand what people mean, it’s just not for me! Personally, I don’t think it’s a healthy message to send to ourselves. It also feels like a tremendous amount of pressure right out of the gate! To me, telling ourself we need to be a “new me” feels the same as saying, we are not “enough”. There are so many places in life that tear us down and tell us we’re not good enough, let’s be determined to not be one of those places!
I wonder if it’s healthier and more productive if instead, we hit the refresh button on our self-love each year! What if we get rid of the “New Year, New Me” message and replace it with a “New Year, New Love” mindset? Each year, we learn so much about ourselves and gain so many valuable life lessons. Why on earth would we not bring that wise person into our new year? Let’s just throw more love at last year’s “me”!
We are all works in progress and the “New Year, New Love” mindset allows us to celebrate where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and where we want to go. The fuel needed to get where we want and need to go is self-love. My way to define self-love, is it’s that kind, loving and supportive conversation with yourself backed up by the choices you make throughout the day. It’s what you think to yourself, say to yourself and do for yourself. A new year is a great time to hit the refresh button on that love and remind ourselves that is our fuel!
Rather than the pressure to be new and perfect, let’s just take small steps each and every day toward a loving, healthy, productive life. Let’s remind ourselves we’re worthy and we’re enough. Self-love fuel will help us spread more love and attract more love. It will help us develop a healthier lifestyle. It will give us the strength to walk away from people and situations that don’t line up with our health, peace and joy. It will ignite dreams in your heart and make them a reality. I’ve worked too hard on the old me to ask for a new me…how about you?
So Happy New Year…Happy New Love!