I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Daring Way Facilitator, therapist supervisor and local business owner of Bridging Hope Counseling. I am the podcast host of Strong Tower Mental Health Podcast. I have 3 children and a wonderful husband and live in Blaine, MN.
Tell us about the featured book. What is it about, and why did you choose to write this story? The Brave Encourager is about the power of encouragement. I wrote the book because in my work as a mental health therapist, I see so much the need for people to just be encouraged. Clients often coming in sharing their problems or talking about other people causing them problems, but we rarely know how to see and pull the gold in one another. They don’t always need advice or have someone tell them what they are doing wrong, but to just be encouraged. When this happens, we improve, we become more of who we were meant to be.
Tell us a little about your writing process. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What is the most difficult part of your artistic process? I researched what was written about encouragement and didn’t find much. What I did find research on was on authenticity, vulnerability, values, and mental health.
About 2 years before I started writing, I had a vision about this book and a download for the outline and I wrote it down. I shared it with a couple people but didn’t do anything for a couple years. When I sat down to write, I used a book coach to keep me accountable. Every week I had to write 1 chapter. It was effective as she helped me stay to the plan.
The most difficult part of my artistic process was honestly learning to get past the lie that I’m not an author and just be ME. I struggle with the identity piece of even writing a book in the first place. Who do I think I am? I don’t have any abilities to write. I’m not that smart, I’m not capable. As I worked with a book coach and was really honest with my struggles, I was able to get past the lies and realize no one else cares about that, they just want and need the message of encouragement.
Are there any writers or authors who have influenced your writing? If not, who are some of your favorite writers? Brené Brown for sure. I am certified in her work and there is so much with her work on vulnerability and shame that was needed to write this book. We often don’t realize we are stuck until we identify the lies/shame that is underneath. We’re not very effective encouragers when we are so stuck in our own stuff.
I also took a lot from the Bible and my values as a Christian. Jesus was courageously encouraging. He didn’t fear what other people thought. He walked with his values even when there was opposition. And those encouraging words he gave made an impact. There were other writers that I equally took from, but Brené Brown and the Bible were the most influential for me.
When inspired you to start writing? What is your favorite place to go for inspiration and/or your favorite place to write? When I was a little girl, I wrote stories and book. In 4thgrade I had a “book business” with my friend Julia and we created book orders and sold books to our friends and family. I made a total of $72 and put it in a old check book box.
Currently, I have had people encourage me to write and multiple occasions.
I have written blogs for my mental health business. I also have a podcast called Strong Tower Mental Health through Charisma Media and will write blogs for them as well.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and see clients and supervise other therapists. I also have a podcast called Strong Tower Mental Health Podcast. I am married and have 3 children; we like to do all sorts of fun sports, activities, and travel.