About four and a half years go, my whole life changed. I had my first baby. At the time I worked in fashion in a big city. I started my career in Human Resources at Bloomingdale’s in Boston, transitioned to selling at Neiman Marcus in Charlotte, then finally landed as a store manager of an upscale boutique in Charlotte. I loved my job in a lot of ways. I got to be creative, and work with fun customers, and attend amazing events. I got to wear beautiful clothes, and learn from the best mentors. And for a long time I saw a future in fashion. Actually, Jordan and I looked very seriously into buying the store when the opportunity arose. We really thought our dreams were coming true. We would be business owners and I would live out a big dream in an amazing city.
Well, our first baby girl rewrote everything I wanted; as babies do. Suddenly working Saturdays and holidays in a store seemed almost unbearable. And I didn’t want the pressure of owning a business at that point in my life, as a new mom in a city so far from my family. I wanted freedom and flexibility. And really? Just to be with my baby. I craved a new lifestyle, new career, new vision. So I enrolled in graduate school. I kept my job at the store, but scaled back my role. I felt pretty good. That was my fresh start. Graduate school.
Well, nope. About halfway through my program, with a 6 month old baby, my plans blew right up. Jordan lost his job. And as we walked through those days? I questioned my own path. Is this really what I want to do? And I discovered to my great disappointment that, no, this was not my path. But I did have a dream tucked away that I never thought would be real. A silly thought that made no sense. I wanted to have my own business at the beach. I had ignored it for a long time. But when Jordan lost his job? I thought, what if? And just like that, it stopped being a dream. It became a goal.
And we pursued it hard. I quit my program and we started looking for work in several beach towns. Nothing was working out, and people thought we were crazy. Because not only did I want to move to the beach and start a business, I wanted to open a dance studio. Um, what? Yes. Leave my fashion job, quit my advanced business degree, move to the beach and be a dance teacher. That was my plan. And for some totally unknown reason, Jordan was in. But to make it work, he had to have a job. We knew that a new business would take time to get off the ground, and we needed a steady income. The problem was that he just could’t find anything promising in the small coastal towns we were considering. Then one day, a friend emailed. She had found a job listing that was kind of Jordan’s dream job. He had zero experience in this type of job, and it was a huge shift from his corporate life. But he applied. And after his first interview? Before he got the job? We sold our furniture, broke our lease, got a vacation rental, and moved to St. Simons.
And praise be to God, he actually got the job. Because there was no back up plan. Just my future dance studio. And Lord help me, I did pursue that. I met with a business consultant and started brainstorming and writing a business plan. But I had no idea what I was doing. And it didn’t take long to realize that owning a studio was not my dream. Dance was in my heart. My very biggest passion for most of my life. And I wanted it back in my life. I thought that the only way to make a real job of it was to start a studio. But once I realized owning studio was not my dream? I was lost. Again. We’d made it to the beach, but my dream job fizzled in front of me. I didn’t want it anymore.
I quietly took a job at a local studio teaching a couple classes a week. I made great friends, got back into dance, and learned a lot about my new community. And without my own studio? I had time to soak in my new life and enjoy my baby. I walked on the beach and took Raines to story time and met Jordan for lunch. It was kind of magical.
I taught for a year in that studio. And just a few months in, I got pregnant again and taught while battling morning sickness and pregnancy bladder. I even performed on stage for the first time in years. I think I gave my family heart palpitations as they watched me cartwheel and do leaps and splits in a can can dance at 21 weeks pregnant. The last class I taught was cardio dance two days before my second daughter was born.
Another baby. Another shift. I never went back to the studio after Mae was born. Nights were harder with two, and it never seemed to be the right time to return. Another season kind of just ended. I didn’t work at all when Mae was a baby. It was a precious and slow time, but also a lonely time. And that’s when the Selah blog was born. I craved connection and needed a creative outlet. And being home all the time, I struggled with contentment - always feeling like I should be doing more. I was so stir crazy. So I started writing a blog. I also started a women’s workout group. And I started practicing gratitude super intentionally every day. And I didn’t know it, but I was changing my life. Gratitude brought contentment and joy and energy and focus. My writing brought flow and ideas and peace and hope. And my workout group brought community and fellowship and deeply meaningful connection. And then, by surprise, I found a word I’d never heard - Selah. It means to pause and praise, or reflect. So I named my blog Selah. My writing is a pause and praise. A reflection of all God has done for me - it’s kind of worship. And I use it to talk about how gratitude and creativity and connection became ways for me to Selah - to pause and praise. To see God.
And now, almost three years later, Selah has been a hundred beautiful things - a blog, a workout group, a supper club, a weekly group. I’ve met some of my very dearest friends here. And I’m holding on to it tightly because I know there is a big beautiful future for Selah that hasn’t been revealed. And Mae kind of did it. Like Raines rocket launched us to St. Simons, Mae shot me into this Selah journey.
And Bonnie? Well baby Bonnie kind of brings the story full circle. The news of her arrival sparked my entrepreneurial spirit. With a one year old and two year old when I got pregnant, I knew wild days were ahead. Jordan and I decided to enroll Raines and Mae in preschool a couple half days a week. They would need some time to play and learn away from home once baby came. But paying for preschool meant we needed some extra income. So I launched an on-site preschool dance business, Mini Motions.
I visit preschools and teach dance to students enrolled in my program. I saw a need in my community. I noticed that getting children to dance class at a studio is difficult or impossible for a lot of families. Most preschool dance classes are either in the afternoons when parents are working, or after work when kids and parents are exhausted. Also? I needed a soloution that worked for my family - a way to work very minimal hours while my kids were at school, but make enough to cover their tuition. And Mini Motions is all of that. It meets a need in my community and it works for my family. I think it’s what God had in store for me when he put dance back in my heart 4 years ago. And now in my second season, Mini Motions is thriving and ready to grow. But it will grow slow. Because it’s mine, and because I choose to grow it slow so that I can be the best mom and business owner I can be. So that I can continue to write and pour into Selah. And you know? Bonnie did it. She gave me the fire to go for it. I had to wait for the third baby to get it. It took two babies before her to understand the need in my community, to know the stresses on working parents. It took all that time for me to become confident enough to grow a business my way, the way that feels right for me and my family. Bonnie was the change that created Mini Motions.
So as I look to the future? First, I give thanks for right now. This day. For the things I prayed for that are my whole life right now. For a small town beach life, for a passion project, for a thriving business, and for a big beautiful family who inspires me every day. My girls have made my dreams come true. And before I chase another dream, I’ll pause and praise for the dream I’m living. For being their mom, and for all the boldness that has given me.