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Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Educate, Elevate, Empower, Inspiration, Soul Food, Woman on the RISE | 0 comments

A Summer of Firsts!

A Summer of Firsts!


It has been a while since I sat down to write here, instead posting some wonderful stories from our talented team of contributors, and announcing a few really exciting events for a variety of Women on the RISE. This summer has been rich with content, and energy, but it has been shared elsewhere. Let me explain…

Last summer, with WWR in its infancy and a whole lot of sacrifice from my family so that I could build this wonderful company, I was tethered to my computer. Very literally, there were no days spent disconnected. This year has been very different, which has been a great blessing for our family. I have been very deliberate in scheduling my work time and family time, and while I don’t claim to have a consistent balance, I do believe that being intentional in how we allocate our time creates what our family needs.

This summer has been proof of that intention. While the magazine {RISE} continues to grow and we prepare to launch an incredible fall issue, and the community continues to thrive, I chose to take a few weeks, spread out through the summer, and take off with my children to enjoy a few summer adventures! The kids enjoyed their first cruise with their grandparents, and ate their first clams. From Florida to New Hampshire, we have enjoyed dozens of beaches, collected a whole lot of sand & sea shells, hugged more family that we’ve been able to in years, and laughed a lot! My baby turned 5, and decided she’s not a baby anymore. My middle schooler became the navigator in the family, and my 10 year old daughter became my ‘healthy road trip’ partner. She doesn’t cook but she makes really good healthy snacks for the road. We traveled more than 4,000 miles together this summer, sang dozens of show tunes and shared playlists that run the range of Kidz Bop to LL Cool J, Mama Mia to Stevie Wonder. This has been, without question, one of the best summers of my life.

And now, more firsts approach as the summer comes to a close and the school year begins. Maddie starts kindergarten this week. She is both over the moon excited and not so sure she’s ready to be a student all day long. It is hard to believe that this day is here. I am both amazed at all that’s happened in our lives the past five years, and sitting here questioning where the time went. This will be the first fall in 12 1/2 years that I don’t have a child at home during the day. 12 1/2 years friends… that is a long time! I have more time each day to devote to my passion and purpose, which I am more and more connected to as the days and weeks go by. While my children grow and become the young adults they are meant to be, I will continue to build this organization and connect women worldwide.

There are more firsts ahead, but my goal isn’t to just deliver firsts. I appreciate the feedback I get from all of you who read us here and in the magazine! It has been such an evolution this year. Can y’all believe it’s been nearly a year since we launched RISE?! So many incredible women have entered the fold in the past year. The coming issue will blow your mind, and the women who will be featured this fall are truly amazing. I am, every single time, in awe of the women I meet. Women who are building opportunities for others. Women who are turning traditional medicine on its ear and healing people facing the most challenging circumstances. Women determined to change the way our children learn and our teachers are treated. Women who see a need and decide to figure out how to fill it. Here’s the common thread these women share… faith. These women aren’t rolling in money, or Harvard grads {well, a few are}, or connected to everyone they need to know when they make these decisions to create change. What they have is the heart of a warrior and an unshakable faith. They all envision the change. They connect to the result they are seeking and then they wake up every single day focused on achieving that result. Faith gets them through the days when nothing is going the way they hope/need/want. Faith keeps them grounded as they achieve milestones and faith keeps them focused on the big picture.

This cover image reminds me of that faith. First of all, it took incredible faith to get it. This was not taken from a plane, but from the top of a mountain. Eleven hours with two of the best people I know… that’s what it took to reach the top. There were many moments of “we could turn back now” and even more of “what on earth were we thinking?”. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but one of the greatest joys I have every experienced. A lot happened after this climb, and when I think of the faith that it takes to live a bold life, connected to your calling, ignoring the naysayers and the talkers, and staying faithful in your walk as your pursue your purpose, I am reminded that when you keep your faith focused on what you are called to do, your life shifts in powerful ways. The hour that my friends and I spent at the summit, talking & praying together, changed my heart, and my perspective on what we are all capable of. I hope that the view helps you realize how great the possibilities truly are.

Maybe your fall is rich with firsts as well. Or perhaps you are a woman who is ready to take a leap of faith of your own. We are always looking for women to connect with and feature. Please reach out if you are ready to share your vision for the future, or a project you have been giving your time & heart to for a while now. Are you the next Woman on the RISE? We look forward to meeting you!

xo – Joanna