Updated: Jan 8, 2018

Today we will celebrate my oldest son’s birthday. There were many, many days that I believed we would never get here... that he would not live to see 25... and I am beyond thankful that I was wrong. Danny is stronger, wiser, and more resilient than I ever gave him credit for being. And I spent many years being more fearful, despondent, and unbelieving than I had any business feeling.

Here is my story. Eight years ago, I began following a group on Facebook called The Brave Girls Club. The group was started by two sisters, Melody Ross and Kathy Wilkins, and was borne out of some really agonizing things that Melody had been through.

Melody started out as a paper crafter, artist, author, and entrepreneur. She was the creator of Chatterbox Scrapbooking & Paper Crafts...does anybody remember that company? But she had gone through some tremendously heartbreaking times, and decided that she never wanted another woman to go through dark times alone, as she had. And so she and her sister created The Brave Girls Club, as a way of connecting and encouraging women around the world.

One particular tragedy that she endured inspired her to create a program called Soul Restoration, and she offered this class online for the first time in 2011. My sister and I were in the very first class!

The class was amazing then, but has grown and changed into a phenomenal program that is changing lives all over the world. It continues to be offered as an online class (at www.bravegirluniversity.com), and has also been taught as a live class for the last eight years, by Melody Ross, at the Art Barn at her home in Idaho.

Over the years, I have continued to follow these Brave Girls, and their daily messages have inspired and comforted me through some difficult times in my life.

About nine months ago, I received an email stating that The Brave Girls were looking for women with the heart and passion to become Soul Restoration Certified Instructors, as they wanted to reach more women with live Retreats than they were able to reach just in Idaho.

From the moment I read that email, I knew this program was meant for me. Despite having a private therapy practice, and many other obligations at home, and despite the financial and time implications, I KNEW I was being called to be a Brave Girl. But I was scared. I was SO scared. Some of you may remember my Facebook post about buying a necklace at an art show that said Fearless... just hoping I’d grow into that word. Thankfully, I also had an incredibly strong support team around me, including my family and some faithful and steadfast friends who would not allow me to give up on my dreams. I am so blessed to have these people in my life!

And so it began. I went to Arizona and took my first live Soul Restoration class with Sarah Crawford (www.yourbeautifulsoul.net). The class changed me in so many ways. It helped me to identify the lies I’d been living with for so long... that Danny’s issues were my fault, and that I must be a bad mom if he was suffering... that if bad things happened to me, I must be a bad person... that I didn’t deserve the incredible friends I had... if they really knew me, they wouldn’t like me anymore... that as long as there were things on my To Do List, I didn’t deserve to experience joy. These were all lies! And I’d made choices and decisions for my life based on these, and other lies.

In Soul Restoration, I was able to identify the lies... not in an agonizing, gut-wrenching way (although it wasn’t easy), but in a clinical, logical way. And I didn’t have to stay in that dark place for long. Soon, I started working on identifying the truth about who I really am... who I have always been... before I started to believe the lies I told myself, and that others told me. I learned that I am loving and kind. And that I am a badass mom! What a relief it was to let go of the lies that had controlled me for so long!

When I returned from Arizona, everyone noticed the changes in me. I am more joyful, more at peace, more confident, and better able to help others, as I am less focused on my own grief.

This isn’t a temporary change. Soul Restoration has given me tools and resources to help me stay in this place of truth. There will continue to be hard times. Life is messy. But now I know how to identify what is a lie and what is truth, and I have committed my heart and soul to living in the truth for the rest of my days.

In December, I spent a week in Idaho with Melody Ross and a handful of other incredible souls, and received my Certified Instructor Training. I am a Brave Girl!

Today, I launch my new business... Life Inspired: Retreats for the Soul (www.alifeinspired.org). My goal is to teach three-day Soul Restoration Retreats, as well as several other one-day classes, and to host fun, craftsy Soulbook Gatherings in my home. I hope you will consider following my blog, and joining me for one (or all!) of these events. You are so loved.

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