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“You get in life, what you have the courage to ask for.”- Oprah Winfrey

This is the story of how our world crumbled, and how we picked up the pieces to rebuild the life we’d always dreamed of- and made a choice to live authentically.

On Friday, June 7th 2013, the day before my oldest daughter’s 5th birthday party, my husband was laid off from his job. Because his career was in property management and we lived on site- the contract we signed stated we had to be out of our home in 7 days. We begged for an extra week and thankfully received it. The emotions from this event are still hard to describe. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt fear on such a deep level- and I’m not sure if I’ve ever masked fear the way we had to the following day at our daughter’s birthday party. I remember smiling faces, whirls of colorful decorations and folks asking us what our “summer plans” were. I remember shaking as I poured the juice for the kids, avoiding any eye contact with my husband for fear of breaking out into uncontrollable sobs. I remember feeling so sad for him, so scared for us and burying all of it for the sake of my child who deserved her special day.

After the guests were gone, the girls were tucked in bed and all that was left were the stale cupcake wrappers and bits of confetti, we finally allowed ourselves to really absorb what had just happened to us. I was a stay at home mom who had this fun little side business of baking and photo taking, which provided hardly any income. He had no job. We have no home. We have no insurance. We have no where to go. We have to pack up fifteen years of our lives in the Twin Cities and we have no idea where we are going to live. Those moments, sitting on the couch in our three bedroom apartment, holding hands while we looked out the window in disbelief, were profoundly terrifying- yet so vital for our spiritual growth.

Although we felt the earth was trembling beneath us, we clung to our faith by our fingernails and decided to take this disaster and turn it into an opportunity. We decided to refuse to be victims and really focus on daring greatly. We had prayed for so long asking God to bless us. We had read so often that making a bold move is the only way to truly advance toward the grandest vision the universe has for you. And somehow, through the tears and terror- came a little glimmer of an answer.

It was time to move home to the country. It was time to go back to the farm. It was time to really let Sugar Wood flourish into the family business we’d always dreamed it could be.

We didn’t know how we’d get there, we felt like we were holding a flashlight in a black out. We were wandering, stumbling, scared and felt so alone. But we knew we had to set our first step with the intention of our goal. And with each step we took in blind faith, we were lead to the next, and then the next. Never knowing when the following step would be revealed. We just kept showing up. First we were packing boxes in our apartment with no permanent home for our children . And we found a home to rent. Then we wondered who would hire me for baking and photography? And the clients came.  Then we wondered how Jon would ever find full time work in a small town. And after four months he did.

We had no choice but to own our story. We shared our truth with everyone we met and refused to live in shame. We were guided by the fact that embracing our vulnerability was going to be our road map to living the authentic life we’d always dreamed of. Now was the time to put down our armors of ego. We had to really allow ourselves to be seen, and to show our children and ourselves what it means to be worthy of love and belonging.  We made the choice to show up and be real. We told people, “Hey- this is where we are, but it’s not where we’re staying-we’ve got big plans”. We decided that struggle was going to be our emotional “time share” and we were building our grand dream home of abundance while we were stuck in the time share.

Dr. Brene Brown describes the definition of courage from the Latin word cor, meaning heart, and the original definition was: to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. I fully believe, to the core of my soul, that this happened to us because I was meant to share our story.

And in our new life, we live near the very farm where all my baking and creativity was nourished. My grandma is my coach when I need a helpful hint or tip on how to stop burning the orange fudge.  We are home. And we are renewed with a family motto that would have never been born had we not experienced this blessing in disguise.

We are choosing to have the courage to be imperfect. We are willing to let go of who we thought we should be, in order to be who we are. We are finally understanding that this journey of ours is meant to be shared, and that shame holds no value here. We will continue to seek greater clarity of our purpose on this earth and strive to lean into our Lord when we are feeling timid again.

My pledge to my family, my clients, readers of my blog and supporters of our life: is to continue to live a whole hearted life. We will show up as our whole imperfect selves, in our business and in our relationships. We will share the story of how this is unfolding for us, in hopes that you too, will be inspired to discover your truth and begin your journey toward a more authentic life.