Loving February

Hello Sweet Soul! It’s been awhile. So good to be back! I’m such a newbie to blogging that I kinda forgot I had one…a blog. Kidding.

I’ve recently made a vision a reality since we last chatted. That was about four weeks ago. Holy cow what a difference a month can make! This vision came to me last summer and remained super foggy and gray. It kept morphing just as the falling leaves and changing seasons. The seeds were planted back in the heat of August and well, things are just starting to shoot through the cold, frozen ground of February! And when I say shoot, I mean shoot! This ain’t no “poking” around business.

Girlfriends, I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself. While bracing for the extremely hard work that is ahead, there is a deep, deep joy in my soul. Bravely Made will be a faith-based non profit Art House that serves local girls coming out of sex trafficking. Through mentoring and creative arts, girls will heal their pain and have an opportunity to participate in our business development program. The program will equip girls to sell their handmade goods through Bravely Made as a source of income. 100% of the profits will go directly back to the girls, in order to create independence and self-sufficiency. This is soul shining stuff. Life changing stuff. And I’m so honored to have been given this vision.

My team of fellow soul shining artists and I have a heavy burden and a heart for these girls. I’m not even sure why, but I know He’s spent years molding me for this work. I’ve always worked with girls, which is why…I’m sure…I have two boys. Lord knew I would have hundreds, prayerfully thousands of girls in my life. They fill me with so much estrogen, I mean joy…as well as fashion tips, that a girl needs in order to thrive and shine! Over sixteen years in education, counseling and life coaching has mostly been dedicated to reaching girls in all capacities…leaders and those needing a hand up. What an honor it is to serve the future Soul Shiners of America. Now that should be a pageant. I’d watch that one. (And by the way, I don’t mind boys. I love em. It’s just I really like mascara. Remember?)

In addition to reaching these girls, we will also be working to prevent trafficking by coming alongside at-risk girls in the foster care system. Take a look at these statistics, compliments of my Soul Shine friend Missy. She’s a member of the Bravely Made team and rocks it when it comes to research. There is a strong correlation among runaways and trafficking:

  • Runaways make up the majority of sex trafficked victims
  • 46% run away due to physical abuse
  • 17% run away due to sexual abuse
  • 30% of the runaways will be actively recruited by a pimp within 48 hours of running away
  • 67% of runaways are in the care of social services
  • There are over 3,000 kids in foster care in Colorado

The need is great. I see it in my office everyday as a Dean of Students in an elementary school. We can hardly keep up with holding our hands over the hearts of little ones with the gaping holes in their chests – pain so deep it’s palpable in the air. Abuse, divorce, grief, bullying, poverty, pressure, you name it. Pain is real and alive among our children. I suppose it always has been, but most educators will tell you something is different. Our kids are emotionally overwhelmed, much more so than they ever have been in the past. The minute I let go of one, another enters in with tears that just don’t quit. The truth behind their suffering leave most adults asking me for a tissue. And this pain is what send our girls, our children, out to the streets where predators calculate their “rescue.”

And this is why I’m loving February. A lot can happen when you receive a call and choose to live it out. Our Bravely Made team is taking steps everyday to build this non-profit. It’s a soak yourself in prayer and the Word kind of calling. It is a battle against evil and I’m not going down without a fight for our girls. I really hope you’ll listen to the prompting in your heart. If you happen to hear, “join her” I’d love to hear from you.

Tonight as I write, my heart is heavy. The pain is personal as I am keenly aware of the hurt right here in my little world. I am aware of girl who took her own life this past week. A girl whose shine was extinguished way before her time, but I’m trusting the Lord has her safe in His arms. I want to dedicate this post to my niece, who lost a good friend and teammate. Paige, you are a Soul Shiner and I love you so much. Your light shines bright for all to see! You are a real beauty. Kindness and compassion, fierce love for your family and a genuine heart for the kingdom sets you apart sweet soul. Can’t wait to see how your journey unfolds. You’ve got a lot of soul shining to do and I’m so proud of the way you shine it. This ones for you. I’m gonna fight. No stopping us now. We’re all Bravely Made.

Shine On Brave Warriors!





Welcome sweet soul!

Hi (if anyone is out there:) I’m so glad you stopped by. OK, that’s funny. Right out of the gate…if you are reading this, you didn’t “stop by.” You were forced…well kind of. I sent you this link. But I just couldn’t wait to write that: “so glad you stopped by.” Kinda like the anchorwoman signing off. I’ve just always wanted to say that. wink wink

I’m a new kid on the block…this blogging block; but I’m not a blogger. Nope, just an ordinary gal who loves people and loves to inspire them towards purpose and meaning and really loving others well: living out of the soul (whatever that means, right?!) Seriously, you know…the deepest part of you…the real you…the inside you…not your “put on your face before you step out the door you” as my Grandma would say. OK, I’ll admit I rarely leave the house without my “face” on. If I do, my kids remind me and say, “uh Mom, aren’t you forgetting something? That mascara or whatever it’s called.” Yep, I am a huge fan of Maybelline. In my case, there’s no guessing. It’s the Maybelline. I do thank God for the super glam pink tube of “get your lash on.” Now my girlfriend Katie, on the other hand, ain’t no guessing – she was born with it. Lashes that practically dangle in her coffee mug. They are something else. But I digress.

I’m writing here as a way to express my thoughts, process my feelings and inspire others to do a little soul digging and shining. Frankly, I write…usually journal, but I’m not a regular. When I do journal, it’s because it is so loud in my head that I have to get the thoughts out. No, I’m not crazy…at least not “clinically.” I just never run out of things to think about. In fact, I kinda feel like an idea machine. They just come, so darn it, I better start capturing them. Even if they are just ideas about how to help my dog not pee on my floor between 4 and 6PM. I think God uses this stuff. Maybe not the dog stuff. But at least some of it, to help me “integrate my soul” as author John Ortberg states in his book, Soul Keeping (great read by the way.) When I see it in words, I give myself the chance to sort through truth and lies. This is really hard to do in real time – upstairs in the noggin while thinking. So, I’ve resolved that I better start getting these things down, and I’m ready for a new venue. Handwriting in my journal is so 2001. Kidding. Really it’s because I don’t want to miss one word, one…tiny whisper the Creator of my soul has to say to me. That’s shine stuff. That’s “I’m gonna bless you so you can bless others stuff.” That’s just plain good stuff. Like chocolate cake and two inch butter cream frosting. Gluten free, of course. With a cup of coffee.

I’m not a great writer, but I sure can type. Thank you, Mrs. Geiger. I’m a lover and promoter of all things true and good and beautiful. I like old Fleetwood Mac and Toby Mac and lots in between. I find joy in lives that flutter…and even soar in the real and raw. I like honesty. My soul is stirred and awakened when I talk with someone like my sweet friend Jenna, who soaks herself in truth and wrings herself out in authenticity. She truly is the same gal with me as she is with her husband, her kids and the entire community. And she’s not afraid to go deep. I’m kinda an all or nothing girl, so I appreciate that quality. It’s contagious to be around. I guess you would say I admire brave women. Women who well, go against the grain and haven’t succumb to the yuck of our culture. No, not just succumb, but fight for holiness. Holiness produces the shine. You can’t buy this kind of shine in a tube or inject into crows feet. Nope, this is an inside out shine. And I know it when I see it. Bright, shiny warriors. You can think of one right now, can’t ya. The ones who battle daily for God to be King on their throne…or pouf. The ones who fight for mercy and justice. Not because they need the attention or personal fulfillment, but because they are so full of love. It simply is their souls’ overflow of a life of deep communion with God Himself. The ones who get on their knees to pray for their kids when the world tells them they just need to buy them more things. Women who thank God for their struggles and pain – trusting they are nudging them towards deep, eternal transformation, not the miry pit of despair. Women who pray and hold Jesus’ hand throughout the day as if their life depended on it. Because they know it does. Yep, I want to be one of these women. And right now, I want to acknowledge some of the women in my life who have shined for me and inspired me towards this holiness. Thank you for being a Bright, Shiny Warrior:

  • My Mom, Cheryl. Nobody is more humble than this lady. Nobody.
  • Katie Brase – Best friend since 4th grade. She was the first friend that I could share my fears and dreams with, my questions about God and eternity…and eat a pan of brownies with. That’s true friendship. Thank you.
  • The New York Girls: Nicole, Debbie, Patti,  Trisha, Crystal and Erin. I miss you so much. You made climbing out of the miry pit doable and fun. Thank you for your friendship.
  • My Spiritual Mentors; Tess Cox, Tracey Klehn, Liz Caddow, Melissa Maimone, and Wendy Massetto at NorthPark Church. My first glimpse of Jesus in the flesh was in you. Thank you. Your wisdom and love has helped this soul shine years after you loved me.
  • My Creative Inspiration: Nicole Johnson, Nichole Nordeman, Sara Groves, and Natalie Grant – your artistic gifts and talents have ministered to my soul (and made me dance) on many occasions. Thank you.
  • My Moms in Prayer Gals: Joy, Hedy, Karen, Jenni, Haley, Sandy and Jenna. You made 6:30AM seem so bright, even in the dark cold winter mornings. Thank you.
  • And ALL of my Girlfriends…you know who you are…there are too many to mention now. It’s 12:56AM for goodness sake. But trust me, whether you want me to talk about you or not, I will. You are a huge part of my shine.

So friends, maybe you’ll be inspired to write your Bright, Shiny Warriors a thank you. I have tears streaming down my face. It’s really good to do this…yes, it’s definitely good for your soul. I think it makes you explode inside with gratitude for all that God has blessed you with.

And then there is my family. Don’t even get me talking about them on the first night. You’ll be so full of love and happy feelings that well, you just might not come back. So more to come on the ones I live with and live to shine for. Although, I find my light is dramatically dimmed by doing dishes. I’m just saying.

Finally, I like words. I really like coffee, chocolate cake and icing. Did I mention that before? Lots of it…and dancing when no one is looking…OK, and when some of you are looking. I totally don’t mind. Although this embarrasses my poor family terribly! Anywhoo, If you like these things, you’ll like it here. We’ll be friends. If you don’t, this blog ain’t for you. I’m just being honest;)

Praying for some soul shine in my heart tomorrow and words that bless everyone. Even my dog. Night night.