Let God Close Doors

As much as I love chasing dreams and being a go-getter when it comes to finding opportunity, there is one important lesson I have learned in a big way and that is to let God close doors. This can be applied to so many things in life.

The writing world is ripe with rejection and failed efforts and more than once I’ve wondered if it’s all worth it. I’ve thought many times that is so much easier to punch a clock and work for someone else and that’s the God’s honest truth. It is.

Though I’m home anytime my family needs me, I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder to attain that. It isn’t just wheee! I think I’ll write today and make money from it. It’s effort and promotion and practice and social media and constantly being on the hunt for projects that suit you. I have several irons in the fire at all times.

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Once upon a time I was emotionally and physically weary from all of it so I applied for a few 9 to 5-ers because I just wanted peace and quiet and an easy, carved out steady income.

So I applied for a job with an organization I just knew I’d be a shoo-in for. I had already worked with them several times in an unpaid capacity and I thought I was really suited for the people and the environment. So I applied and interviewed and had a so-so but very hopeful feeling about it.

Let God Close Doors Real Honest Mom blog

After weeks of waiting, I found out I didn’t get the job. I was really bummed about it. I gave an update on the job search in an online mastermind group I was a part of and I talked about how disappointed I was.

A woman I didn’t even know said something I’ll always remember. She said:

“Maybe God is trying to protect you from something.”

Whoooooo doggggggy was she right. A nuclear bomb went off within that organization soon afterwards and I (eventually) walked away feeling grateful.

And I knew what I was doing at the time. I wanted an out from writing where I could breathe easier and avoid the painful possibility of failure on my own.

I guarantee if I would have gotten that job or any of the others I applied for, I wouldn’t have had the guts to stick this out and I wouldn’t get to enjoy the opportunities now as they keep popping up on the horizon.

God knows what He’s doing. Let Him close doors. No matter how badly you think you might want them open.

But I Love it God Just Trust Me

Speaking of which, I have had a big opportunity come up!

I was invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in February 2017. It’s an invitation-only conference that is a huge invite in my mom blogging world. It’s a conference for moms and digital influencers hosted by Disney.

It isn’t free to attend, but I am working on possibly rounding up a few sponsors for the trip so I can breathe a little easier about the cost.

The conference starts at the Walt Disney World Park and includes a resort stay and then a 3 day Cruise aboard a Disney Cruise Ship.

I’m excited for the chance to attend, but I really want to stay grounded and remember that I won’t die if this door closes. I would be thrilled to take my family with me as I “work” at Disney but I will be okay if it doesn’t happen just yet.

I will be sure to shout it from the rooftops if it works out. But until then, cheers! Keep chasing those dreams and remember to embrace those closed doors.

(And pssst… check out my Hire Me page, I also do video!)

3 Big Business Boutique Takeaways and November Prayers

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If you follow me on social media at all, you are probably well aware that I attended Christy Wright’s Business Boutique in Nashville.

I made several social media posts about it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and it was life-changing.

Something that I really needed to do, and a big reason I went to the conference was to gain clarity and a central focus for writing and my blog and figure out my next steps.

3 Big Business Boutique Takeaways and November Prayers

Photo: Audra Rogers

I like to write about so many things. I love to write about encouraging parents, chasing long lost dreams, parenting, getting healthy with food and exercise, family finances, fun kids stuff and family travel.

I like to just live life first and then write about whatever strikes me.

That’s good, but then I look at my site and think, for a first time visitor they are probably wondering what the heck does this chick do? What’s her thing?

Big Takeaway #1: Getting Clear On What You Do and Who Your Audience Is

I was sitting in a crowd of 3,000 women and many of us have varied interests and are still ironing out a clear path. So we were told to ask ourselves these questions.

  • What are your strengths?
  • What gives you energy?
  • What are your values?
  • What sets you apart?
  • Who are you?

Writing is my strength and it gives me life and energy. A unique thing I can bring to the writing marketplace is that I also have full video shooting and editing capabilities so I can offer video elements to any client I work with. I love to inspire and encourage.

I am a lost-then-found mother of two that found new life after getting back to my inner-child and roots of writing. I am also a woman of faith. I don’t talk about it a lot on my blog because I didn’t want to offend potential readers that aren’t believers.

But I have to be who I am. I have to to be. So another big takeaway was hearing that **not everyone is your target audience.**

If I lose readers over mentions of faith, that’s okay. I don’t want to, but I don’t expect that my blog is everyone’s cup of tea or will make everyone happy.

My blog will still be about parenting and encouragement, but a big part of how I survive parenting is by faith and collecting new experiences. So I will talk about faith where it’s appropriate.

Readers that might choose to leave over that aren’t bad people, I’m just not their person. And that’s okay.

Big Takeaway #2: There’s Room For You Too

We often are afraid to start because so many other people are doing what we do. Someone else is doing it bigger, doing it better and it seems that the market is saturated and they have all the customers, so why bother.

Christy said yes, someone is probably already doing it but don’t compare yourself because you are on different paths. And if someone else is already doing it, SO WHAT? No one else can do it exactly the way you can because we are all unique, diverse people.

You can study and learn so much from your competitors. What are they doing right? What unique take can you bring to the market? How can you do something differently than they do? How can you help each other? THERE’S ROOM FOR YOU TOO!

In a room of 3,000 not one woman raised their hand when asked if the goal of the conference was just to make a big pile of money. There is a higher purpose in what we do and you should go with your passion, even if it’s similar to someone else’s. There’s room for you too.

Big Takeaway #3: Writing The Letter

This one was big. Huge. We ended the Business Boutique on a big, fat surprise that brought everyone to tears.

Christy had us take a few minutes to write a letter to another woman at the conference. I can write out what happened here, but it’ll be so much better for you to see the emotion behind it with your own eyes.

See why that exercise turned out to be the biggest thing for me here on my recording via Facebook Live:

If for any reason the video doesn’t show up, you can find it pinned at the top of the RealHonestMomBlog Facebook page.

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3 Big Business Boutique Takeaways and November Prayers

Photo: Audra Rogers

Alright, now let me tell you something.

I am being called into ministry and I feel it in my very bones. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I know I’m being prepped for something bigger. That doesn’t mean I’m going to preach onstage or go into seminary, there are all kinds of ministry.

People that make hair bows and bake cakes, there is ministry in that because you are preparing something out of love with your very hands. There is ministry in sharing words and life experiences, for instance. My jam is crafting words and it’s why I’m here.

Nothing has happened yet and I don’t know if it will be tomorrow or in a year, but I am ready.

I’m not scared anymore. I’m just not. And that’s God because I’m kind of a wimp underneath it all otherwise, really.

I really feel like big doors are about to open and this time I’m ready. God has opened many doors for me in the past but I was too afraid to walk through them. But I’m ready now. It’s go time.

I have my November prayers ready. Ready for holiday stress, ready for insanity as a parent, ready for what’s to come. And I want to share those with you.

3 Big Business Boutique Takeaways and November Prayers

Photo: Audra Rogers

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Lord God:

-Help me to always hear the birds singing outside no matter how cold the weather.

-Help me to always feel small when I walk outside.

-Open doors of opportunity and give me the continued courage to walk through them.

-Open the doors that are truly good for me and protect me from the ones that aren’t, no matter how bad I think I want them.

-Remind me to stop and breathe before the stress hits. Help me be still and know.

-Reveal the things to me that I need to see in other people so that I can see them as You see them and as You see me, with love and understanding.

-Help me to see me as You see me.

-Fill me with the grace and the right words for on-the-spot situations that would otherwise cause me to lose it. Help me to always remember that angry words don’t truly help any situation.

-Help me to keep my eyes on You, regardless of the world I see in front of me or what I am offered.

-Help me be a light and use me for good. Give me the strength to stay true to myself and my family and what I think, feel and believe no matter what opportunities may present themselves.

-May I always honor and be true to the people I serve and may I always honor You through it.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Because Of Who’s Watching

Well here we are, almost the end of February. If you recall, in my post Failed New Year’s Goals I talked about how February is the time where people start losing steam on new habits. I also told you about how my other goals may fall short, but chasing a dream of being a writer is one that I sincerely don’t want to fail.

Why? Well, I think in life there are some things that are just in every fiber of your being and you will suffer if you don’t live in that gift somehow. What is that gift for you? Counseling others, event planning, painting, art, song? We all have something in us dying to get out. You should let it out.

I know a huge drawback for anyone chasing anything new is a fear of failure. What if other people are counting on you? What would people think? What if you let someone down? What if you let yourself down?

Those are all legitimate concerns, but how would you feel at the end of the line if you came to the realization that you never even tried? That time had run out. That your later became never.

You should go for it now. Because it’s such a relief to live in your gifts, whether you fail or succeed. It’s a gift to yourself, and it’s a gift because of who’s watching.

© Olgalis

You never know who’s watching or who might need you to brave the waters and go first.

The cogs have started rolling for me with writing and I have found myself on big publications. Thank you, because I worked really hard for that (and I was rejected 8 billion times first.)

I am part of a Mastermind group, and our admins push us to think a little bigger, go a little higher. And to hold ourselves accountable by choosing someone to check in on our progress every week, aside from the group.

For me, that’s my husband. He’s a burly man’s man that loves to see numbers and plans on paper, so he was a logical choice. He also knows how to talk to me about these things without making me mad, for the most part.

We were challenged to write down our goals and map out how they would be accomplished, bit by bit. My brain was on fire at the end of the exercise, but I ended up with a road map on how to get things accomplished and I saw that what I wanted to do was possible.

My goal was to make $1,500 in February from freelance writing. So I wrote that out at the top of a piece of paper and listed the several possibilities to get that accomplished.

MyCrew

I also did one better, and posted that paper to the outside pantry door in the kitchen and I told my kids that it was mommy’s homework and it was their job to make sure I did it. You can imagine the joy and fanfare it brought to my 8-year-old that he would get to nag me about homework for a change. And my toddler can clearly say “mommy’s homework,” it’s adorable.

So as the month progressed, I started highlighting the benchmarks that were accomplished, and every time I screeched that highlighter across the paper, I enlisted the help of my two very willing young sons to cheer and clap and celebrate.

Yay mommy!!!!!” is my favorite exclamation, and I probably say it the loudest. It feels good to get there and take my family with me.

So how did I do on the goal? I did not make $1,500.

As it stands thus far to finish out February, I have made $1,910! I will be able to cover childcare and the mortgage, and the cost of a new laptop because this one is seriously dying. Yay mommy!!!!!!! 

I also want to mention that even though you may know who’s watching you chase your dreams in your home, you may not know who else is watching.

I don’t 100% feel like I truly know what I’m doing in how I go about this, but I was contacted recently by a dear friend from my teen years, and it was one of the best compliments of my life. She said that she has been quietly following my progress for a while. It is somewhat painful for her because she said it was a reminder that she wasn’t following her own passions, but in watching what I’m doing, she felt inspired to get moving on her dream, and she took the beginning steps to get there.

Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than that. You never know who just needs you to go first before they’re comfortable sticking their own toes in the water.

And if you’re still on the fence at all, I will tell you what I told her to send her over the edge to try (in a good way.)

When I get to my death bed. I want to look up at my sons, both of whom are standing on either side of me holding my hand. I want to look up at them and smile and say “I did it. Don’t worry about me. I used everything I had and I did it.” And they will know exactly what I’m talking about because they saw it.

So do it. Take one small step today. Do it for you, and do it because of who’s watching.

xoxo,

Audra

The Thing About Fear

By the time you read this, it will be 2016. A brand new, sparkling shiny year. A time for beautiful new beginnings and quite frankly, a time of fear for many.

I’m at home with my family right now, and it’s New Year’s Eve. My sons are gathered around my husband’s laptop and they are watching Star Wars videos on YouTube. The rockin’, bashin’ New Years Eve something-or-other is on the television in the background.

I am sitting here with the tap-tap-tapping of the keyboard, wondering aloud what is just around the bend in the new year. I am waving the white flag, and I am scared.

I am taking a big leap of faith. I am investing in full-time childcare for my youngest, and I’m taking the plunge into freelance writing full-time.

I will need to make enough to cover the cost of the monthly tuition, plus a lot more to be profitable. I have safety net money in a savings account, just in case.

© Craig Ikegami

© Craig Ikegami

But a favorite old friend of mine has stopped by to visit (or camp out on my head), which I think is the case with a great many of us trying something new this year: Fear.

It is something that I’m used to navigating now, so it isn’t so intimidating. But it’s always there in some form. Fear. Fear of failure, fear of success. Fear of mediocrity.

Though failing is hard and very trying on the mind (and soul), I think it’s sort of the easy part. If you fail at something, you can run back to your old comfort zone and hide out at a level you were at before and regroup. Comfort zones, I can handle.

I have a lot more of a fear of success. It’s a good problem to have, no doubt. But there are a lot of things that go along with it that concern me.

What if I reach success? Then what? Would I ever be able to top it? What if it changes me? Would I still be able to make sound decisions and respect the boundaries I have in place for myself and my family? What if it gets to a point where it becomes more about money than writing?

What if it goes beyond my wildest dreams? Am I ready for that? Will I be a good leader? Will I truly believe it? Will I forget my why? Will I become a target? What if I lose relationships because of success? Will people think that I think I’m better than they are? (Rest assured on that one, friends. I definitely don’t think I’m better than you.)

Writing full time is my dream. I’m doing this. It’s what I’m made to do, and I cannot be swayed. But I think doubt naturally starts to creep in when we enter new territory.

I think that’s what fear is. Stepping out into the unknown. There are so many variables that could change your course dramatically. But the thing about fear is… what if those changes are for the better?

I took a personality test once. I tested very high in critical thinking, and very low in liking surprises. So I am essentially stepping out into the entrepreneurial world not liking surprises. Oh, the irony.

But the things we don’t like grow us, don’t they?

I’m doing it, regardless. It may seem like the natural progression of things, as I have found success in writing part time. But it isn’t easy for me.

Something I saw a few days ago really drove the point home for me. I was having lunch at a small cafe, and I could see a cemetery close by. There was a graveside service happening under two tents and I couldn’t stop watching.

I’m not morbid and I don’t pleasure in anyone’s pain. But I kept thinking about the person laying in the casket. Did they do everything they wanted? Did they sit on the sidelines because they were scared? Or at the end, did they sit on their deathbed satisfied, knowing that they did all they could, using their gifts in life? I don’t want to have regrets.

I think being vulnerable and humble and pointing out fears is a nice way of disarming them. And I plan to tell those fears that they have a reasonable place, but they can also just shut up already so I can get some work done.

Is there something you want to do but you’re scared of doing it? Stick your toe in the water. Even just a little bit. It’s probably cold. But what if it takes you an amazing place?

Happy New Year.

The World Needs Your Hustle

I want you to meet my friend Kevin. He and I are friends because we both have dreams, and we are taking the necessary baby steps to achieve them. Kevin gets up every day at 5am and leads the charge for other dreamers to get up and hustle on their dreams. 5am is early. But 5am doesn’t shortchange your day job or your family in the process of dream-chasing. Do you have a dream? Do you need help remembering what it is? Kevin’s your man. Read his guest writing today and let him encourage you in chasing your dream!

Do you have a dream for your life? Do you feel as though you are meant for more? Is there a goal you have for the year, the month, or even just today?

I believe the answer is yes! I hope the answer for you is yes. I believe that we are all meant to live lives that are more than average, that go beyond the ordinary.

There is one thing I know for sure. If you have a dream for your life; if you have a goal you want to accomplish, it will not magically happen on its own. You have to work, you have to work hard, and most days you have to work even harder.

In other words, you have to hustle!

There will be good days and bad days. There will be moments of absolute greatness and moments of unordinary struggle. But here’s the thing. There are people out there who need you to hustle. There is a world out there that will be impacted by your accomplished goals and fulfilled dreams.

Please don’t give up because the world needs your hustle.

I am a blogger and my dream is to continue to use this platform to encourage others to live extraordinary lives. To realize that they can live out their life’s purpose and that there is someone out there who believes in them. You can read more on my blog, livingoutmyjourney.com

I wrote the following poem with you in mind. It is my encouragement to you because I know that a dream takes work. I know that life is not always easy and that there are times that we need to be reminded why we are pursuing a better life.

Recently I partnered up with a great friend of mine, Rachel Bodine, and she performed her doodle magic and really made the words come alive! I’m excited to announce that the poem is available in a print version on Rachel’s Etsy shop! If you or someone you know would like a copy, simply click here.

TheWorldNeedsYourHustle

The World Needs Your Hustle

The world needs your hustle

They need your dreams, your goals, your aspirations.

They need the gift that you have been given,

Which is waiting to be released.

The world needs your hustle

They need your ideas, your faith in the unknown,

Your hope for a better life.

They need you to be you and to know that your hustle matters

Because they matter.

The world needs your hustle

It will not be easy and there will be days when you want to give up

But in those moments you must remember why are doing this and who it is for

And let that serve as your inspiration and strength to keep going.

So keep dreaming, keep sacrificing

Get up early and go to bed late

Do whatever it takes to make it happen

Take the next step

Because the world needs your hustle

I believe that there is a reason why you read this blog post today. I believe that we all need encouragement and I hope that you will take that next step toward a dream fulfilled or a goal accomplished.

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Again, you can click here to order your copy today! It would also make a great gift for someone you know that is hustling toward their dreams!

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Kevin Buchanan is a blogger/author who wants you to know that life is meant to be truly lived. His purpose is one of encouragement and his writing reflects that. Kevin loves to call Nashville, Tennessee his home and is an avid movie watcher, can be seen frequently at Target, and loves all things chocolate.

Be sure to check out Kevin’s blog and follow him on Twitter!