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Woman Up Wednesday: Empowered Women Empower Women

Today I have such a treat for you.  FIVE women in one post! I’m half kidding, I can’t even begin to cover all five of these women in one post, however I do want to give you a snapshot of the women I interviewed for my book coming next year, Dear Sister, and why.  

From the beginning of my writing process,  I didn’t want to just center my own opinion and experiences.  Lots of books and authors do that, and it’s not a bad thing. But for THIS book, about sisterhood,  I wanted readers to hear from women with different backgrounds, challenges, and victories. Writing can feel like talking into an echo chamber which is great if you like the sound of your own voice, but otherwise it gets old.   The added bonus of interviews, was the incredible support I’ve received (and continue to receive!)  from these women through the process of writing. I am so lucky and blessed down to my toes to have each of them in my life.  So without further ado, let me introduce you!

Many of you may already know Jaime.  We met through shared faith community when I first moved to Connecticut.  I'm not going to spoil the story, but our friendship took some time to come about. Now, I am so blessed to be a part of her life.

​I interviewed Jaime because her story is just so powerful. I knew she had dealt with a lot of major challenges in life that many of you will be able to relate to.  I love how she shares her story so openly and vulnerably.  Just a few topics we cover include: The power (for good and bad) of church communities, recovering from eating disorders, growing up with a single mom, recovering from abuse, therapy, and (my favorite) parenting in ways that don't pass on systemic / family trauma. We also talked about the rockstar lineup of women Jaime had to look up to (spoiler, including her mom!) that baked in her resilience and tenacity.

I met Kelly through Grrrl Clothing, and her Instagram.  She has created an amazing space online for body positive fitness and personal growth.  I was so intimidated by how fantastic she was when I first found her, that it took me MONTHS to reach out even though we had so much in common.

I interviewed Kelly for my book because I so greatly value her story, and her work in cultivating autonomy and personal worth, as well as community and sisterhood. We talk about searching for healing and wholeness in faith communities and how that can be so challenging.  

Erika Kimberley is the amazing founder of To Be Praised ministries, which encourages Christian women to uncover their gifts and claim their faith. Her work of encouraging women of faith in leadership is SO needed, and one of the main reasons I wanted to interview her for Dear Sister. 

I heard Erika speak at a women's event a few years ago, and I was in awe.  Fun fact, it took me at least two years to have the self image to initiate a friendship, and she has been such a blessing and inspiration in my life ever since. 

We talk about identity, autonomy, claiming faith as our own, as well as moving towards healing faith communities that still have massive racial divides.

I met Pam Conklin almost thirty years ago now.  She has known me the longest of any of these women.  Oh yeah, and she's my mom.  

I included an interview with Mom for several reasons.  First, while I don't consider her old, she does have a lot of experience.  She has been a part of multiple different types of church communities, raised a family, homeschooled, lived all across the US and internationally, and been a Navy wife.

Second, I talk about my own experiences and growth journey a lot in this book, but it's not an expose or a dig at my family.  I wanted Mom to be able to weigh in on her experience as I processed much of these things, and to discuss how that impacted our relationship.

Third, and this may be the biggest reason, I think our relationship is has probably changed more drastically than any other in my life as a result of the things I discuss in Dear Sister.  I went from moving out at 19, against her wishes and having a very surface relationship with her for a while, to coming full circle and being able to share openly (and even disagree openly) in trust.  

I have known Heather for almost as long as I have known Mom (although not quite.)  We were childhood friends, and our families attended the same church and were part of the same homeschool program. 

Heather is a blogger as well, and I interviewed her because her story is just so relatable for those of us growing up in very conservative churches and homeschool settings.  We talk about what it's like growing up without having leadership gifts affirmed, and sorting that out in adulthood.  We also discuss finding our voices, how to know if a therapist is a good fit, and how Heather is teaching her (adorable) twin daughters autonomy from day one.

I hope that our conversations give you some inspiration, relief, and confirmation that you're not alone in any of this.  That is after all, what sisterhood is all about. 

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