Wisdom of the Wynoochee: lessons from hikers

posted on: February 23, 2021

The Olympic National Forest ranges from rain forest to mountaintop. Surrounded on three sides by saltwater, with the Olympic Mountains nestled in the center, the Olympic National Forest offers the chance to hike a mountain for a 360 degree view, explore one of the only rainforest in the lower 48, and camp right along one of the many pristine bodies of water.

Along with the vast beauty of this great land comes an awe and respect of nature and her ability. Just because a hike is popular and well known, does not mean that hike is safe in every season.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

That is the case with a group of young, local resident hikers here in the Pacific Northwest as they decided to hike Wynoochee Lake. They received a lesson, they will soon not forget. I am grateful to have the chance to reach out to them and get their story and some advice to pass on to other PNW hikers and readers of my blog.

For these three skilled hikers, this familiar trail which is popular and easily traversed became extremely dangerous and almost lead to the requirement of an emergency rescue. The trails they followed were torn up from the storm weeks prior, and the recent large amounts of snow melting. Their adventure began at eight in the morning and should have only taken them three or four hours total. The sun was setting as they finally made their way back to the trailhead.

Interviewing one of the hikers, she told me she noticed there were dozens of downed trees. To her, it seemed like the trails there had not been maintained in months. At one point, the keen hikers lost the trail but were able to find it using their Garmin. One of the hikers slipped and gashed her hand open trying to get over one of the downed trees. She began to go into shock. 

Around three in the afternoon, rain began to fall to their dismay. They lost the trail completely and end at a ‘river’ that was caused by the rapid melting of the snow. Confusion set in when they saw the river that was not supposed to be there. The app downloaded on their phone had not been updated in months. A shallow creek should have been all they would have to cross at this point however due to the winter weather the water had rapidly increased to well over four feet deep.

The hikers ended up using their basic map reading skills to find the service road needed and followed it back to their car. They believe it was their  knowledge and training experience that got them out of the forest that day. Exhausted and hungry, the hikers realized they had been hiking all day, arriving back to their car around four that evening after hiking well over ten miles. Thankfully, all three hikers are safe and home resting and recuperating from minor injuries.

This experience was shared with other hikers online in certain forums with no real significant results.  Never should such an experience be taken lightly. When a hiker walks away from a scare such as this one, they are grateful, shaken and ready to warn others who may not be as lucky. We should all glean from their words. Even veteran hikers should acknowledge the power and merciless force of Mother Nature.

Lest we forget, Mother Nature can create, shape and manipulate landscapes all around us whenever she pleases.
I ask one of the hikers what would they have brought with them that they did not have at the time.
Answer: a beacon and extra socks.



Ten Essentials to bring on any hike:

1-Navigation: map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger
2-Headlamp: plus extra batteries
3-Sun protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothes and sunscreen
4-First aid: including foot care and insect repellent (as needed)
5-Knife: plus a gear repair kit and a multitool.
6-Fire: matches, lighter, tinder and/or stove
7-Shelter: carried at all times (can be a light emergency bivy)
8-Extra food: Beyond the minimum expectation
9-Extra water: Beyond the minimum expectation
10-Extra clothes: Beyond the minimum expectation-Weather-appropriate clothing (think moisture-wicking and layers)

Plan Ahead and Prepare!

William Shakespeare said it best. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

Thousands of footprints have touched this same trail these hikers ventured down. Their footprints can share a tale that will lead all of us to a better understanding of hiking in the winter season after a snowfall. Don’t downplay their situation.

Don’t snicker and say, “Well I would have…”

We don’t know what we would have done.

We weren’t there.

They were.

They lived and survived and are here to tell the tale.

Learn from it. Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, and compassion. Let’s exercise some wisdom as we learn from this experience.


I would love to know your thoughts. Please feel free to comment, share this post and expand the knowledge of other hikers. Together we can see the world safely.


Small streams and waterfalls, Wynoochee River, Wynoochee Lake, old-growth and second growth forests are all part of the experience along this 16 mile loop trail. The trail follows 6 miles along the lakeshore, extends another 2 miles upriver to a bridge over the Wynoochee River, then returns to the Coho campground in 8 miles on the opposite side of the river/lake.
Remember, conditions can change rapidly, especially in backcountry areas. Always check weather reports before your trip, pack the ten essentials and be prepared for all kinds of weather. Bring plenty of water and pack out all trash.






To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.









Click here for an additional Website to check for more information and weather alerts prior to hiking in the Olympic National Forest.

NOTE: Forest roads are prone to flooding and washouts. Never attempt to cross road washouts as you could easily get trapped.

Wynoochee Lake
Wynoochee Lake, see the melting snow?












Olympic National Forest
Supervisor’s Office
1835 Black Lk Blvd SW
Olympia, WA 98512
(360) 956-2402
TTD (360) 956-2401

Hood Canal Ranger Station
295142 Highway 101 S.
PO Box 280
Quilcene, WA 98376
TDD: 360-765-2200

Pacific Ranger Station – Forks
437 Tillicum Lane
Forks, WA 98331
TDD: 360-374-6522

Pacific Ranger Station – Quinault
353 South Shore Road
PO Box 9
Quinault, WA 98575
TDD: 360-288-0203



Have you ever experienced anything hiking that you weren’t prepared for? Feel free to share your experience as well!

We are all learning together!






Laura Aranda


My interview with Creator of In a Skirt Podcast

posted on: February 7, 2020

Below is a great interview from a Southern friend who is an avid runner. She is an inspiration and I am so excited to to share part of her story with you today. Comment and Share!


1. Why are you running?

You could choose to do anything to exercise. 

I started running for health and fitness reasons. I guess that’s still one of the reasons I run, but I mainly run now because it brings me mental clarity, I love the way I feel after a run, I love chasing goals, and I love the running community.

2. Who is in your running support network?

So many people! I have made so many wonderful friends through running and I consider all of them my support network. My best friend (who I met through running) is my number one supporter. Her name is Jerri Kay Boyd and we run together several times a week. I’ve learned so much from her and she is the most encouraging person. And, of course, there’s my family. I couldn’t run if I didn’t have their support.


3. What are the top three “little things” that you do to prevent injury?

I think the most important is nutrition. The most serious running injury I’ve had was because of a nutritional issue. It’s really important to eat enough for the number of miles you’re putting in and to make sure your body is getting sufficient nutrients across the board.

The second is recovering properly. For me, this means taking a day each week to rest and making sure my easy days are truly easy and will help my body recover from harder-effort days.

The third is incorporating a little bit of strength training into each week. It doesn’t have to be everyday, or even every other day, and it doesn’t have to be long sessions. Maybe just 20 minutes of Pilates a few times a week, or something like that.

4. Tell my readers all about running gear.

The great thing about running is that you don’t need a lot of gear to get started. That’s one of the reasons why I took up running instead of other activities. Just lace up some running shoes and go! Of course, now that I’ve been running several years, I’ve made it more complicated by adding gear. I love Garmin running watches to record runs and all the data from a run, an LED vest for running in the dark, water bottles that can be carried on a run, etc. Shoes are personal. What type you need depends on how you run. Some people strike on their heels, some strike on their forefoot, some strike mid-foot. Different shoes are made for different strikes. I recommend going to a specialty running store to have your running analyzed and let them fit you to a good shoe for you. The best clothes are moisture-wicking clothes that move with you. I chafe easily, so I prefer shirts that do not have lots of seams. If you’re getting blisters, or having other issues with your feet when you run, your shoes are probably too small. Your running shoes should be AT LEAST one full size larger than what you normally wear. I always buy my running shoes two sizes larger than what I normally wear. Your feet will swell while running. Running puts a lot of force and trauma on your feet, so they should have extra room while running.

5. Thanks for the shoe size advice! How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

I think one of the best motivators is that I have a running buddy. We both get out of bed and get over to our meeting spot because we know the other one is waiting. Another good motivator is to sign up for races, because then you have something on your calendar that you’re working toward.

6. Running Buddy! Got it! That is the same for hiking for me! Thanks! Have you read a new running book lately?

What podcast do you listen to. 

“Run the Mile You’re In” by Ryan Hall is an excellent book.

I finished it recently and highly recommend it. Ryan is the American record-holder in the half marathon. He is also a Christian, adoptive parent, non-profit organizer, and just all-around motivating guy.

I rarely listen to anything while running because I usually run with a friend and we talk!

If I have to run on a treadmill, then I may listen to a podcast.

I love “I’ll Have Another” with Lindsey Hein,

“The Illuminate Podcast,” and

“Run Free Podcast” with Ryan Hall.


7. Talk a bit about your podcast. That’s the one thing I want the HikerBabe Community and every other reader to know about. 

I started my podcast close to a year ago to celebrate people who do sports a little differently.

I don’t want people to be afraid to do something because they feel like they’re different than others who normally engage in that activity.

I want people to realize that activities like running are diverse and accepting.

I try to tell the stories of people who decided to forget about stereotypes, or who are encouraging, or who will make listeners think, “Hey, if they’re doing that, I can, too!”

In A skirt podcast



Her podcast can be listened to at inaskirt.com or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, or iHeart Radio…simply search for In A Skirt Podcast.




The book she talked about in the above interview you can find here:

“Chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.” T.G

posted on: September 19, 2018


“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” —John C. Maxwell

What does passion mean?  It is a strong and barely controllable emotion.  If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it with much conviction or passion. That is true concerning college, a job, or any other thing you find yourself doing. Passion is energy. You will be able to feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. One person filled with passion about a cause is better than 100 people who are merely interested in the cause. Passion for a cause is not something you can fake. You can’t pretend to be on fire, you are or you aren’t.

Have you ever heard Dr Laura Catherine Schlessinger? Wikipedia says that she was born January 16, 1947 and is an American talk radio host member of the National Radio Hall of Fame and author. Her radio program consists mainly of her responses to callers’ requests for personal advice and has occasionally featured her short monologues on social and political topics. Her website says that her show “preaches, teaches, and nags about morals, values and ethics”. I have listened to her for over twenty years. I love her!

Dr Laura Schlessinger used to combine her local radio career with a private practice as a marriage and family counselor, but after going into national syndication, she concentrated her efforts on the daily The Dr. Laura Program, and on writing self-help books. The books Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives, and The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands are among her bestselling works. I have had both and they are very good books. Check her out!

I was listening to this modern day philosopher today and something she said peaked my in

terested. I wanted to share what she had to say with you and add a bit as well.

Her question to the audience was:

What is your passion? 

How can you find out what your passion in life is? 

Her advice was from an article she read and shared with us. I want to share those with you.

  1. What topic could you read 500 books on and never get tired of knowing more or reading about? 

  2. What could you do for five straight years without getting paid? 

  3. If you had financial abundance to do anything in the world, what would you do? 

  4. Make a list of the people you are jealous of. This will give you clarity. What do these people do that make you jealous? 

These questions are taking practicality out thinking and just gets to the core. Don’t assume your passion is your job right now. Your job is the way to eventually entertain your passion. It is the practicality.

Are you starting to think? 

Your true passion will not be found overnight but it will be through a series of discoveries. 

“Passion is the genesis of genius.” —Tony Robbins

I could read 500 books about photography, speaking, leadership and the ability to be an encouragement in many different ways.

Regardless of payment, I would continue to read and share encouragements with others, travel and host in my home as often as possible.

If I had the financial ability to do anything in the world, I would travel constantly photographing as I went along to create books of wonder for others to cherish. I would continue to travel and speak and bring awareness to human trafficking and how it affects our American children and youth.

“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” —Steve Jobs

Making a list of people I am ‘jealous’ of made me smile. This truly gave me clarity. The people I have thought of travel often, deeply care for others and those less fortunate,  spend quality time with their children and speak in front of many people, they have a well known household name and aren’t afraid to stand up and be a leader. I want to follow in their footsteps.

“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” —Bishop T.D. Jakes

If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it. Gather everything you can and learn as much as you can so you can be the most successful at whatever it is, you wish to do.

“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” —Vincent Van Gogh

What are your thoughts? Share below! Comment and let’s see how many people are pursuing their passion in life.

My evening at Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue Farm Tenino, WA

posted on: July 13, 2018

Oftentimes, I have been intrigued by those beautiful people who dedicate their entire lives to a cause or business. One example would be a family Mom & Pop shop or a community’s meat market with a famous butcher who is the grandson of the creator and owner…a business that has been passed down from generation to generation. It amazes me that people can stay in one place and dedicate their entire lives to doing just one thing…for me, that would scare me to death to have to do that but it also impresses me that others are so good at so many things that the world may never know about. In this post, I want to share one of those special people I believe the whole world should know hear about and know. She may never be a household name but to alpacas, she is a hero. 

Many know, I am away on holiday visiting family in Washington. I am currently writing book two in the Pushing Back the Darkness series bringing awareness to abuse and sexual trafficking in America. I was driving to visit Mount Rainier one day last week, when I drove past a ‘llama’ farm. On a whim, I looked them up online and found Cross Creek Alpaca Farm. Without thinking to hard on the matter, I quickly sent her a message and asked if I could come visit her and check out the farm. She replied and invited me  out. Tonight I spent over an hour there. One of our first conversations was one of her explaining to me she had to find a job to support the rescue Alpacas. She relies on donations to feed them and nurture them back to health.  Alpacas are not native to the United State of America. Since 1984, alpacas have been imported from Peru, Bolivia and Chile into the United States but when they arrive here they can be mistreated, misused or neglected…sounds familiar, huh???  What a parallel…maybe that is why my heartstrings were tugged so tightly…..


Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue was founded by Sharon Bond and Jacklyn Glover who started with rescuing horses in 2003. Then in 2007, they began to rescue alpacas. There are very few animal rescues dedicated to the saving of alpacas but the need exists. Too often gelded males, older females and otherwise unwanted alpacas are passed from farm to farm, or they are put down for little or no reason other than they are a burden to the current owner. I was able to learn that llamas are bigger than alpacas. Alpacas love love love to be sprayed with the water hose and I had the distinct privilege to spray them down and watch them jump in the cool water and then lay in the cool dirt now that they were nice and wet. It was so cute!

Alpacas only live to about 15 years old but these can get to 20 or older since they are so loved and spoiled here at Cross Creek

If you could see them, you would fall in love with them just as I have. I didn’t even know alpacas could be abused or neglected…but they are just like any other farm animal that people don’t take care of. She is a hero and every alpaca rescued is one out of harm’s way.

What is abuse/neglect?
Abuse of animals could be defined many ways depending in which context you are speaking and to whom. In Webster’s dictionary abuse is defined as; to hurt by treating badly; mistreatment; causing injury.
Neglect is defined in Webster’s as; not to care for sufficiently or properly; slight; to treat as unimportant, through carelessness or by intention.

Many of her alpacas came from a rescue in 2014 from Polk County, Oregon. The owners of Jocelyn’s Alpaca Ranch in Falls City were charged with several counts of animal neglect in 2014 after alpacas on the farm were found dead or starving. (*CAN YOU IMAGE!??* THAT’S SO SAD!)
Jocelyn and Robert Silver were both indicted on 18 crimes: felony first-degree animal neglect, felony second-degree animal neglect and 16 counts of misdemeanor first-degree animal neglect.
They were arraigned on the charges Tuesday afternoon after press time. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has seized and is caring for 175 alpacas. Later the news came out that there were as many as 200 being kept on 3 acres with little or no food.These animals were in terrible conditions and as many as 50 have already died before the rescue.

Cross Creek’s website is full of information:

Why does she want to rescue an Alpaca?
Alpacas are not native to the United State of America. Since 1984, alpacas have been imported from Peru, Bolivia and Chile into the United States. Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are native to the Andean Mountain range of South America. In their native lands they have been used for clothing, food and heat for many thousands of years. In the US, attempts are being made to develop industries utilizing the fiber produced by alpacas. Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere. Containing no lanolin, alpaca fiber is also naturally hypoallergenic.

The alpaca industry has grown steadily with current estimates totally over 120,000 registered alpacas with the Alpaca Registry, Inc (ARI) in the US. Due to the small size of the national herd, the alpaca industry is a breeder’s market. This has led to the discarding of non-breeding alpacas due to age, deformity, illness and poor breeding practices. In recent years, many intelligent alpacas have been discarded as of no worth, due mainly to the lack of human understanding. Because of the influx of alpacas, there have been increases in neglect, abused and abandoned animals. The well-being of the alpaca is put into jeopardy. This was reason enough to be a hero and rescue them. I applaud her efforts and want to share her story with the world!



Click here to learn more or DONATE to : Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue Farm

A note from her:

CCAR is a 501c(3) non-profit organization,

and they rely entirely on private & adoption donations to pay for medication, veterinary expenses and feed.

All contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law.


Send a complimentary card with your donation to CCAR to let your family and friends know about the special donation you gave in their name.

Whether it be birthday, anniversary or in memory of someone, they will send them a personalized card.

When you use PayPal, you can attach a note to them that will let them know that you would like to SEND A CARD.  Or on their website you click on CONTACT US, and send them an email.  They will then contact you by email to get the needed information to send the perfect card for you. For more info call: (360) 350-3813

Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue welcomes your support. GO CHECK THEM OUT–Tell them AUTHOR LAURA ARANDA sent you!

SETX Homeschool Expo-Author’s Corner

posted on: June 24, 2018

This was the second year, I have been invited to the SETX Homeschool Expo. https://www.facebook.com/events/170275663766999/

Jessica Fant, does an excellent job portraying her vision and creating an incredible experience in such an educational atmosphere. This year was larger and on a grander scale than the last two years. Tucked away in the coziest corner of Ford Park was a coffee station and all of us. The authors. Our genres are all different and we come from very different backgrounds but over the last two days, we warmed up to each other and learned so much.

Armed with new books and new friendships, I came away with gems. Over the next few weeks,  I will be posting new author interviews from my new friends.

One week, you will meet a two time deployed military veteran who is now a school teacher and an author.

One week, you will meet a pastor’s wife who has written the homeschool book of all books that will help you lose every excuse you could possibly think of, not to homeschool.

One week, you will meet a beautiful author of many, many books with some of her books involving a certain cat who is from Louisiana and takes us on a journey through Cajun Creole country.

I am so excited to share my friends with you. Check back and read their interviews coming up and go to their social media links if you want to buy their books or share them with your friends and followers.

Book One of Pushing Back the Darkness series

Thanks, Jessica Fant. I couldn’t have done it without you. I anticipate next year already.

Author’s Corner

Day in the Life of 5. Interview with Apostolic Blogger and Author, Tiffany Strebeck.

posted on: June 20, 2018

Through a mutual Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/WMW16/, Women ministering to Women, I met Tiffany and knew I wanted to share her story with you. She is friendly and warm and easy to talk to. I hope to meet her in person one day. She is just one of those people you can like instantly. I hope in some way this blog interview helps her book gain attention. Women should help other women, not compete against one another.

Below you will find an interview we had recently. Enjoy!


What is your favorite childhood book?

Nancy Drew, anything about her. Good old fashioned detective work!

How did you decide to begin writing?

Since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Back then, I thought I was going to be the creator of the next Nancy Drew! But for the last few years I’ve had notebooks and pens laying around my house, readily available for note taking when the inspiration hit. Two years ago that grew into my blog.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Oh absolutely! I write notes, prayers, reminders, verses, and so much more to myself all the time! It’s so encouraging just to myself to look back at the prayers I wrote down and be able to jot down when and how God answered them. Our prayers are laid up in Heaven, but our words can be recorded here on Earth.

Tell me about your blog.

My blog is my personal spiritual outlet. It’s called Day in the Life of 5.

(Website: https://dayinthelifeof5.wordpress.com/ )

God asked me to start it and I was terrified, but I followed. Since then I’ve learned how many people I can help and encourage and that gives me a new purpose.

Do you have many blog followers?

I have a Facebook page for blog updates and I have about 200 followers there.


Nice! What made you decide to publish your blog posts in a book form?

In one word: God.

About 5 weeks before publishing, I knew He was nudging me toward making it a book. It was a dream that started growing in my heart and He was cultivated it. I got confirmation when a friend started throwing publishing companies at me and said, Go for it!


Where can people find your book to buy?

It is currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. (Hoping to have it in ebook form soon!)


I hope readers go get your book! Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Probably a little of both! When I begin to form a new blog or writing in my head and heart, I simply cannot rest until it’s out. Once that ball starts rolling if I don’t write it, I feel like it’s hanging over my head! But once it’s out there, I feel the burden lift and usually I just sit back and take a huge sigh of relief! Overall, writing gives me a joy and comfort that nothing else quite does. When I write, I know I’m doing what I was called to do.


What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Feeling like you can’t, like you’re inadequate. If you feel the burden or the calling to write, don’t look around at others and compare. There is no comparison amongst us, especially in the Lord’s work. Pursue what God is calling you to do, don’t hesitate, just trust Him and let Him lead. He won’t fail you.


What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Probably the most prevalent in my mind is the first blog I wrote and shared. I realized then that the words that God had given me could pull someone out of the darkest of places. Words can make or break people. I began to understand then that my words needed to uplift, and that as uplifting as they could be, they could be equally deadly if not handled with grace.


I have published a fiction book titled Pushing Back the Darkness. Do you believe in writer’s block?

As I’m not a fiction writer, I may understand it from that perspective, but I do believe in a Satan block! Many times I knew I had a subject that needed to be written on and the devil did everything he could to get in my way and stop me. Some days it felt like by the time I got those words written, I felt as if I had no more strength to fight!


I get that! I understand. Does your family support your career as a writer?

Absolutely! My husband is a quiet, steady man of few words, ironically! Poor man married a loud mouth jabber box! Ha! But he has been my biggest supporter in this pursuit. With three kids and a household to run, he never doubted me. I have the best support group in my friends and family, they’ve even given me a push here and there when I needed it!


Where can people find and follow you online?


I’m on Facebook and InstaGram!


InstaGram: @dayinthelifeof5


What is your favorite bible story/verse? This is an easy one! Proverbs 3:5-6


Why? I love those verses as well. Many people do-

They’ve always been my favorite. They’re a gentle, but exact reminder of how God is always there and ready to lead us, if we will just trust Him. We can never know or understand all of His ways or plans, but if we trust, no matter how blind it feels, He will always guide us with His mighty hand.


Lastly, do you have plans to write a second book?

Yes!! I have plans for two more, Lord willing. Another devotional, broken down into short segments for each day of the year. The other will be a book telling a bit of my struggles in trusting God and taking that leap of faith,and encouraging other women to follow God’s calling for their lives.

Thank you so much!

America, What Nicaragua needs you to know and share

posted on: May 31, 2018

The below interview is from a man we met while in Nicaragua. His name has been excluded as well as the church he attends. I created this interview with him in a desperate attempt to get America’s attention.

Though he primarily speaks Spanish and responded to me in Spanish, all of his answers will be translated into English for our readers.

The strong Nicaraguan people are resilient but as they march on their Mother’s Day holiday this year they did not celebrate. The people declared it a day of mourning for the fallen as the death toll as reached over 80 people. Right now they are in what they call, “The Mother of all Marches”! This is a march for their freedom, for their liberties and for the future generations who don’t have a clue what terror Communism brings. You will see real photos here, however, I chose not to share some of the more graphic pictures he sent over. They were gruesome and worse than anything movies could portray. This is real. 

READ the interview and SHARE SHARE SHARE the interview to get the news out. These are real time events. Most importantly, PRAY!

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of




¿Dónde vives en Nicaragua?

Where do you live in Nicaragua? 

In a Managua neighborhood in an old mansion


¿Puedes decirle a América la línea de tiempo de los eventos nicaragüenses?

Can you tell America the timeline of the Nicaraguan events?

There has been up to three marches per week due to suspension of the dialogue.


¿Alguno de su familia ha estado involucrado?

Has any of your family been involved? 

Two of my innocent cousins were hurt just for the pleasure. On Wednesday, they took them and my aunt to the place where they are tortured and forced to beg them not to kill them. The police are murderous and corrupt.

¿Hay ‘chicos buenos’ y ‘chicos malos’ en Nicargua?

Are there ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in Nicargua? 

The ‘good ones’ are the students and the ‘bad ones’ are the JS: Sandinista youth.


*Laura: The aggressive Sandinista Youth run about armed with iron pipes into the crowds of protestors with police protection. Vicious and cruel. 


¿Qué debe cambiar?

What needs to change? 

The government because it is very corrupt.


¿Qué debe suceder para que Nicargua sea pacífico?

What needs to happen to make Nicargua peaceful? 

Nicaragua has been peaceful, but because of the situation the country has worsened and there are many armed people.


¿Qué quieres que América sepa?

What do you want America to know? 

Let him know that we want a new change of government.


¿Cómo puede ayudar América?

How can America help? 

America can help if they will intervene in removing the corrupt from power.


¿Hay algo que Estados Unidos pueda hacer para ayudar a Nicaragua?

Is there anything America can do to help Nicaragua? 

Removing the corrupt from power helps the country improve the situation of Nicaragua since the president refuses to resign.


Comparta cualquier historia que desee que América sepa sobre Nicaragua.


¡Mantenerse a salvo! Que Dios bendiga a tu familia.

Share any story you want America to know about Nicaragua. 

Thank you. 

Stay safe! God bless your family. 


The story that needs to be told is that Nicaragua is repeating the same story for the second time when it is in shambles.


There is so much more I could add. There is constantly new information coming out but I just wanted to send out this plea from a citizen there. PRAY for them! Share this blog post and interview so it can open people’s eyes to the devastation going on right now. Find me on Facebook:

You should be able to see the album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10155839692111185.1073742148.734416184&type=1&l=eb5c2edc49

and you can see an album full of more pictures of Nicaragua and our trip there recently.




America, this is what the beautiful people of Nicaragua need you to know.

According to Wikipedia: On 18 April 2018, demonstrators in several cities of Nicaragua began protests against President Daniel Ortega‘s decree of social security reforms that increased taxes and decreased benefits. After five days of unrest in which nearly 30 people were killed, Ortega announced the cancellation of the reforms. However, the opposition has grown to denounce Ortega and demand his resignation, becoming one of the largest protests in his government’s history and the deadliest civil conflict since the end of the Nicaraguan Revolution.

The Gift of Fear-An Interview with Safety Sisters Founder, Brittany Moore (with a surprise gift for my readers)

posted on: April 9, 2018

The Gift of Fear. Is that even possible…to view fear as a gift? As a public speaker bringing awareness to human trafficking and how it affects our communities and our teens, I often feel that sensation of fear as I study and prepare to stand before people. A few ideas come to mind from other people and what they have had to say about fear; I want to share those with you. One is from Daniel Koren, author of ‘He Called Her’. Concerning fear  he said (paraphrasing in my words) to let fear run as far as possible in your mind…what is the worst that can happen? Now, open your eyes. You are still here. You are still standing. Fear runs out and you are still standing. 

Another public speaker I heard speak of the gift of fear said something that stuck with me and I constantly bring her words back to mind as I feel that rush of butterflies and those twisted, nervous, sweaty palms sensations. What if we are so unfamiliar with the feeling of power that we associate that nervous, scary feeling with fear instead of what it truly is-power. Public speakers have the unique opportunity to plant an idea in the minds of their audience. That is powerful and should be an exciting moment, not a fearful one. 

With that being said, Meet Brittany Moore,  a certified safety and self-defense educator who is going into public speaking as well.

The following interview is with a fellow Damsel in Defense sister. Damsel in Defense’s mission is to equip, empower and educate women to protect themselves and their families. Our Independent Damsel Pros are not only arming others and experiencing financial freedom, but also offering empowerment and healing to those affected by assault #becauseofdamsel. 

One by one, we are changing statistics and giving back to the many amazing partner organizations below that are making a difference in the lives of those who have been assaulted. As we continue to grow, our hearts and eyes are wide open for where God will take us next. But Damsel in Defense is only one part of all our lives. Beyond that, we do so many other fascinating things. For this Damsel sister Brittany Moore, I am excited to share how God is leading her into her newest venture. 



First off, I want to thank Laura so much for taking the time to chat with me. I love what you are doing to help bring your passion to raising awareness for human trafficking. Now a little about me…I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister and the owner of Safety Sister.

My background is in psychology and health education and I am a certified safety and self-defense educator.


What do you do?


I teach women (teens to senior citizens) how to protect themselves and their families through awareness and prevention. I love every single aspect of what I do and hope to equip as many women as possible with the mental and physical tools to keep themselves safe.

Tell my readers 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences.

-My mother, my inspiration for what I do, was a victim of rape from a serial killer who was later convicted. Although her experience was not my own experience, I grew up knowing about it and knowing how important it was to learn to protect myself. None of us should ever have to learn about personal safety the way she did, so her experience has inspired me to teach people how to avoid becoming a victim at all costs.

-Started “Safety Sister” in April 2017

-Published a “Personal & Family Safety” e-course in March 2018

What are your greatest professional strengths?

My greatest professional strengths are an unwillingness to give up. If something doesn’t work, I will get creative be sure to find another way to make it work. My second strength is in my desire to continue learning. Both strengths come from my passion for what I do and to share the knowledge with others.

What would you say are your Greatest Weaknesses?

We all have weaknesses and I’m no exception.  But our weaknesses are not what define us, our willingness to work hard enough to overcome them is what does. So, the only true weakness is not having the desire to overcome. I’m definitely not lacking in my desire, therefore I will overcome!

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to?

I know a few people with personal connections to St. Jude Children’s hospital and have heard only amazing things. I try to raise money for them as often as possible. Also, RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network is a great organization that comes out with so much helpful information and resources for women.

What do you think you have had to overcome to be who you are today?

I don’t claim to have had to endure even a fraction of what others have been through and I attribute that, in part, to my mom and the knowledge I was given as a child. My biggest barrier and the biggest thing I continue to overcome is myself, my doubts, and my setbacks. It’s easy to let them get in the way of getting to where you want to go. But if you focus on the goal, and know that, one way or another, you will find a way, you will succeed.

What is the last book that has made you cry?

As a mom, I don’t get much time to read, so I re-listened to “The Gift of Fear” a few weeks ago, which was part of my inspiration in doing what I do. I cry every time I listen to it because it hits so close to home and I hate the thought of people in this world have to endure such evil every day.

*The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence is a nonfiction self-help book (Dell Publishing 1997, republished with new epilogue 1998) written by Gavin de Becker. The book demonstrates how every individual should learn to trust the inherent “gift” of their gut instinct. By learning to recognize various warning signs and precursors to violence, it becomes possible to avoid potential trauma and harm.

The Gift of Fear spent four months on The New York Times Bestseller List, was a #1 National Bestseller, and has been published in 14 languages.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job would be a general manager of a major league baseball team. I grew up playing baseball, yes baseball, with the boys. The history and the sanctity of the game have always held a special place in my heart.

That’s incredible. Wow. So, in your own words what is your definition of success?

My definition of success is being able to do something that I love and feel like I’m really making a difference rather than going to an office job that I don’t like every day.

Doing something you love….so would you say you are successful and in what ways?

Absolutely! I’m successful in the sense that I had an idea and a passion and I turned it into an organization! I had no idea what I was capable of when I first started and I’ve learned a lot about myself.

What is your greatest professional achievement?

Publishing my e-book and e-course that each took about a year to put together.

Do you have long term goals that you can share with the readers?

In the long-term I’d like to extend my reach to high schools and colleges, giving seminars, and teaching women how to be proactive with their own safety and not take it for granted.

If a youth asked for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

  1. Pay attention.
  2. Educate yourself.
  3. And listen to your instincts. Just about everything you do in life will be helped by those 3 pieces of advice!

That’s great advice for anyone. Let’s change directions for a moment. Have you ever created a vision board?

Not an actual one…although my pinterest boards are all overflowing!

Aren’t ours all overflowing? HA! So, do you have a favorite motto that you live by?

I used to love the quote:

“It’s good for the soul to invest in something you can’t control.”

which comes from the movie Fever Pitch and is in reference to baseball. However, doing what I do now, this has become the opposite of the motto I choose to live by. Now, I prefer to live by the motto and quote which again comes from “The Gift of Fear”:

“Whether it’s learned the easy way or the hard way, the truth remains, safety is yours.”


I love it! Thank you so much. They are both great quotes. I am so excited to hear more about your future ventures and where God is going to take you on this journey. I can’t wait to hear and share the stories of the lives you will positively impact. 

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???

Readers can find us at www.safetysister.com, on Facebook at @safetysister or email us at sisterinselfdefense@gmail.com.

Our e-course is directly available at https://safety-sisters.teachable.com/

For all of Laura’s followers, I’d love to offer you a 50% discount on our “Personal & Family Safety” e-course.

Use promo code LAURAARANDA to receive your discount!

promo code:LAURAARANDA

Part 4 of Summer of ’67 Actress Interviews, Bethany Davenport on Fitness, Acting and the ministry called Shores of Grace in Brazil

posted on: March 26, 2018

Bethany has been such a sweet person to interview. So beautiful, optimistic, open and inspiring. Enjoy her interview below!

Laura: How long have you been active in fitness?

I’ve been active pretty much my whole life. I started gymnastics when I was two and a half and competed until I was 12. After that, I did pretty much every sport my school offered. I started diving in high school and was on my college team for my freshmen and sophomore years as well. About two years ago I started doing triathlons, and I really enjoy it!

Laura: I went hiking for the first time last Mother’s Day in the Rocky Mountain National Park. It was incredible. How long have you been hiking? Where are your favorite places to go hiking and mountain climbing? 

I would love to hike in the Rocky Mountains! I saw them for the first time on a brief stay in Colorado last year, but I wasn’t able to go hiking in them. My favorite place to hike is in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s beautiful there! I’ve been hiking since I was a kid. My family would go camping every summer and that was one of our family activities. I just loved it! I went rock climbing for fun for the first time when I was around ten years old. I’ve never climbed outdoors on real rocks, though I would love to! When I do climb, it’s at an indoor rock wall.

Laura: I heard you recently started aerial sling classes. Can you explain what that is exactly? 

Yes, I did! It’s so much fun! Aerial sling, also called aerial hammock, is made out of the same material as silks, but it’s a loop instead of silks which is two pieces of fabric hanging down together. I’m not sure I am explaining it very well. It’s great for anyone who is curious about circus and circus arts. I have only been to a few classes, but I am definitely hooked!

Aerial Sling.jpg

Laura: That looks so cool! What is a goal you have that’s worth working for, starting now?

I’m doing my first obstacle course race next month, so I’m getting ready for that!

 Laura: What are you passionate about?

My faith, my marriage, and my cats. And acting.

Laura: What wins did you have this week?

I got to celebrate my birthday! I am terrible with birthdays because I always set too high expectations about how the day will go. I kept getting disappointed, and so for the past few years I just stopped doing anything special, because I knew it wouldn’t meet my expectations and I would get pre-disappointed. This year, I decided to just have a fun, casual day. I took the day off work and had a girls’ day with one of my closest friends, and then my husband and I went out and did a few different activities around the city together. It was perfectly imperfect, or imperfectly perfect? Not sure, but it was great!

Laura: Can you begin by telling me what made you decide to follow your career path?

It was something I just couldn’t let go of. It had been a dream of mine for a long time that I had started to take baby steps toward, but I was too scared to actually make the decision to go for it. I was on a different career path at the time and completely miserable. My husband saw how unhappy I was and told me to quit and pursue acting, since he knew that’s what I really wanted. A few months later, I decided to listen to him. I quit my full-time job and started sending out my headshots and resumés to agencies, and the rest is history! I haven’t looked back since. I don’t think I would have gone for it if it wasn’t for his encouragement and support. He’s been my rock through all of this.

Laura: Thank God for a great husband!

In your opinion, what is there to be said of difficult life experiences and how can we transform them?

Everyone will have them. That’s just part of life. I am in no way an expert on how to transform difficult experiences. One thing that I really try to not do is wallow in them. They can be really defeating if you let them take control of you. For me, I like to use that time for a lot of prayer. It is generally in the darkest times that I am most aware of God’s sovereignty.

 Laura: That is the perfect answer. Wow! 

When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?

I had an audition a few weeks ago for a part that was really a far reach for me. It was for an upcoming movie, and it sounded like it would be an awesome opportunity to grow as an actor. The role was a bit edgier than I’ve ever done, but I really liked the writing. I was contemplating if I should even audition, but it sounded really fun, and a great way to get my face out there some more. The scene was pretty intense and challenged both myself and my husband (who is my reader for most of my auditions). Ultimately, it was a great experience and I was proud of the audition I sent in, but it was definitely out of my comfort zone!

Summer of '67 still.jpg

Laura: How did you get involved in Acting? 

Acting was something I had been curious about for a very long time. As a kid, when I watched a movie I didn’t really think about how it was all fake and people were pretending to be other people and the crazy stunts involved with that. When I was in late elementary school, my parents bought our first movie on DVD. And that opened up a whole new world to me, because DVDs had bonus features. It was my first look into how a scene was filmed, how visual effects were created, green screens, and seeing the actors as themselves and not as their characters. It was fascinating! I started watching every featurette, every commentary, every blooper reel, and deleted scene that came with every DVD we got after that. The world of movie-making fascinated me! That was when the spark was lit. For me, getting into acting was a long, slow process. I did not actually start to really pursue that dream until after college. Sometimes I wish I had started sooner, but I think taking my time allowed me to grow as a person and gain some confidence. I have been pursuing acting as a career for almost two years. When I decided to really go for it and get some training, I actually wanted to do voice acting only. I have a lot of training in voiceover, and I really enjoy it! I hope I can do more. But it was through voiceover that I found film. My voice coach suggested that I take some on-camera acting classes to help my voiceover acting. I was terrified of the camera, but I decided to sign up for a workshop with an LA producer who was in town. I went to that workshop terrified, but I felt completely at home and discovered I love the style of film acting!

Laura: What is your favorite quote or mantra?

I have two!

The first is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.

The second is scripture I try to live my life by.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and he will direct your path.”

Proverbs 3:5-6


Laura: Proverbs 3:5-6 brings great hope and promise! Thank you for sharing that reminder.

If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in your life, what would it be and why?

This probably sounds silly, but I would wave that magic wand to get a house. Not a big, fancy one, just a modest house with walls that don’t touch anyone else’s. My husband and I are both so over sharing walls. I am very ready to not hear the neighbors through the walls or be worried that our TV or music is too loud. That day will come! I just have to be patient for a bit longer.


Laura: That is funny but so true. I remember our first apartment when we got married over 13 years ago and how cramped and close everything was. Houses take time. You’ll get there! We are finally buying a house now. 

What advice would you give someone concerning who they need to become in order to accomplish their wish/dream/goal?

Let go of your fear, and go for it. If it is something you truly want, it is better to try and fail than not try and always wonder what could have been.

Laura:  Beautiful advice.

Laura: In how many films you have performed up till now? 

I have done 3 short films and one feature film. I have also been cast in another movie that is set to film in a few months. I hope to do many more though! I absolutely love film.


When do you feel like your true self?

I feel most like my true self when I am surrounded by those closest to me. There are no expectations, because they are the people that already know me, love me, and accept me as I am.

Laura: I love that.

If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing?

I think in many ways, I am the bravest version of myself (so far, at least). Since I started acting, I have been constantly pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone. In order to get anywhere in the film industry, you have to constantly push yourself. I’m definitely still learning how to do that, but I am trying!

Laura: Are you working on any current projects

I have a film coming up in a few months. I get to play a college track athlete whose goal is to make it to nationals. It’s going to be pretty demanding physically so I have already started training for it. I want to make sure I look like I could actually be a college track nationals hopeful. I started weightlifting in January and I’ll start doing track workouts in the spring to help me get ready! It’s been a lot of fun so far, and I basically feel like Wonder Woman.

BUMP still.png

I have the opportunity to take part in several different kinds of projects: film, TV, commercials, music videos, and a few industrials. I have really enjoyed getting to see the projects that are finished (many are in post-production), and I am very proud of how they turned out. I’m not necessarily satisfied with my performances in them, but the projects have been great, and I have been so honored to be a part of them!

Laura: Tell me about an area in which you would like to improve as an actress? 

I mean, pretty much every area could use improvement. I don’t think I’ll look in the mirror one day and think, “well, I’ve mastered acting”. Each role is an opportunity to grow, and I think with each role, I learn what my weaknesses are and what strengths I have. One of my goals would be to be able to cry on camera. I’ve been able to tear up, which in many scenes is powerful enough, but sometimes you just need to be able to let lose and sob.

BTS Bump.jpg

Laura: Do you ever think that you could have done a bit better in any particular role? 

Every. Single. One.

Laura: Which has been your favorite character that you have performed? 

I don’t think I really have one favorite! Each character I’ve played has their own journey and it is so fun getting to explore that for each particular character. When I played Kate in the short film “Bump” (Sheepshed Entertainment), I had to really tap into my meek, quiet side and show the fear of getting pregnant in a society that doesn’t allow people have their own children. It was the first time I really connected so well with another actor, and it was such a great experience. But when I played Kate (yep, another Kate!) in “Summer of ‘67” (Mainstreet Productions), I had to tap into my free-spirited side of trying to ignore the war and forget all the pressures at home with people close to her gone overseas. Her character has so much growth throughout the film, so it was great getting to go through that with her. Those would be my top two because I got to really delve into their lives and help create their world.

BTS Summer of '67.jpg

Laura: What is keeping people from living their best life?

Fear and pride. There is fear they will fail and then pride of not wanting to others to know they failed. It’s perfectly reasonable to be fearful, but when it is holding you back then it becomes a problem. And it is definitely difficult, but in order to go after what you truly want you have to put yourself out there and be open to failure and criticism. People miss out on a lot of opportunities because they are afraid of what other people will think. If I had worried about it less, I may have started my crazy life switch into acting much sooner.


Laura: How can individuals achieve goals without sacrificing their values?

You have to be very sure about your values and also be willing to give up opportunities to work toward that goal if it compromises those values. There have been some role opportunities that I have turned down because I wasn’t comfortable with the content or what the project represents. As an actor, my face and name will be associated with each project I do, so I want to make sure I’m representing something I am proud of. And sometimes that means holding out for the next opportunity.

Laura: How do we make our values a reality?

I think if you have certain values, they will be apparent in your life. They will influence your decisions, how you live, and how you treat and interact with others. If your values don’t impact how you live, are those values really that important to you?

Laura: Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to? 

Some friends of my family started a nonprofit organization down in Brazil that helps women recover from prostitution and helps young girls escape from sex slavery. They are a wonderful couple with hearts for God and they live down in Brazil with their four children living this every single day. The ministry is called Shores of Grace. The work they do in that country is truly remarkable.

Laura: That is my heartbeat! Bringing awareness to human trafficking! How can people know more about that nonprofit? 

They have a website  (shoresofgrace.com) with information about the different aspects of their ministry as well as how to donate if you would like.

Laura: If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you?

I recently got an Instagram! Feel free to check it out @thebethanydavenport 😊









Discussing Zombies, Overcoming breast cancer, and something every woman should know to how do! Laura’s Interview with Actress Rachel Schrey Part 3 of Summer of ’67

posted on: March 19, 2018

This interview is about one incredible lady. She loves sci-fi. In fact, she has wrote and directed a sci-fi short-film  called “Kaziah,” which will be released in 2019 after being submitted to film festivals. She is into martial arts and is a blogger writing about her journey and battle through breast cancer in 2017. She gives all the glory and credit to God who was with her every step of the way. Enjoy Part 3 of the Summer of ’67 Actress Interviews.


Meet Rachel Schrey!

Rachel SchreyC

Laura: Thank you for allowing me to interview you. You are an actress and blogger. What are some things you blog about?

I’ve had several blogs—a couple chronicling my travels to Europe and Australia, and one on overcoming anxiety. My most recent one is perhaps the most vulnerable; it talks about my journey through breast cancer last year. I came out on top by the grace of God! But it was an incredibly emotional and difficult season. I needed a way to vent, and writing has always been a creative release for me. It was (and still is) very healing to write about it all, and my goal through sharing my experience is to encourage and provide hope to other ladies who may be going through a similar journey. Last year, it meant so much to me whenever I heard other ladies being vulnerable enough to share their cancer stories. It was hugely comforting. I want to give that to other people now that I’m on the other side of it all.

Laura: Wow. That is incredible! God is so gracious and merciful.

How long have you been acting?

Well, when I was ten, I transcribed a children’s version of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” into a script and convinced my sister and our two best friends to make it into a movie. So I guess you could say it started then! We kept making “movies” for a lot of years after that, but honestly, it always felt like a childhood hobby. I never took it seriously until after college.

Laura: That reminds me of my sister and I used to do stories and record them on cassette players! haha

What made you decide to begin acting?

I used to want to be a large animal vet, so I studied Animal Science during my undergrad years. Near my senior year, some friends and I made a music video as a joke. I did the editing and remembered how much I loved doing that (I always edited the films my friends and I made when we were younger). By the time I finished my degree, as much as I loved horses and biology, I’d realized it just wasn’t what I wanted for my career.

I took some time off after graduating to figure out what direction I really wanted to go in. A year or so later, I found myself at Hillsong College in Sydney, studying TV/ Media. Part of our assignments there was to write and produce an original short film. I got really excited and started writing my script months in advance. Compared to most of the other student films, I went in an uncommon direction for my project, action-comedy. I cast my then- boyfriend-now-husband as the lead with me as his sidekick. It all felt a little risky for some reason, maybe I was just nervous, but the response I got from people who saw my film was overwhelmingly positive. For the first time, I felt like I might be able to do this whole “filmmaking thing” for real. Maybe it wasn’t just a childhood hobby. Maybe I was good at it. I was also starting to discover I loved the idea of acting, not just writing or directing. After that, I started taking steps to begin training and working my way into the world of film/ television acting. I haven’t looked back since!


Laura: What is the most meaningful project you have done?

That would have to be my first feature film, “Summer of ’67.” Not only was it my first feature and one of my first lead roles, but the timing of it couldn’t have been more significant. We began shooting just a few weeks after I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. My first day on set, I was only eight days out from major surgery (I had been cleared by the doctors to be there—not that I was going to be kept away!). It really gave me something to look forward to, something to help sling-shot me beyond all I was dealing with in my real life at the time. It was so healing and rewarding.

Laura: What is your experience in the field of professional acting?
I’ve had the privilege of being involved in some wonderful independent projects. As of right now, aside from my role in “Summer of ’67,” I play a lead in an upcoming indie web-series entitled “Remnant 13.” It’s got zombies, drama, and action—which gives me a chance to put my love of martial arts to good use! I’ve done a couple of commercials, and then I also try to regularly create my own content, whether it’s comedy sketches or short films or screenplays for writing practice. I find it keeps me sharp

and my momentum up as an artist (not to mention, it’s fun!). Right now, I’m about to wrap a sci-fi short-film that I wrote and directed called “Kaziah,” which will be released in 2019 after being submitted to film festivals.

Rachel Schrey_Kaziah Screenshot.png

Laura: “Remnant 13” sounds like a lot of fun! I can’t wait to hear more about “Kaziah” as well. You mentioned martial arts skills, so what else should every woman know how to do?

Ok, I recently got a revelation here, and it’s changed my life: keep your house clean! Seriously. Even though it can be difficult with a busy schedule, it provides so much more peace of mind. You feel so much less distracted just knowing the laundry is folded and the dishwasher is emptied. It’s finishing the little things. I’m amazed at how much more peaceful, restful, and creative I feel day to day when I keep things straight! And don’t beat yourself up if it’s not perfect. It doesn’t have to be, but the organization does give you more space to pursue your other goals, and the best part is, I find I somehow have more time in the week for doing just that!


Laura: That was not what I was expecting but yes, I totally agree! Keep your house clean. IT is such a great feeling to know you can go to bed with a clean house. So, do you have a favorite mantra or verse you live by?

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” -Psalm 37:23-24.

It’s such a comfort to know that God cares more about the details of my life than I do! For me, an incredible amount of inner peace and joy has come in the process of learning to simply rest in that. I’m healthier, happier, and more successful for it.

Rachel Schrey_Summer of 67_A

Laura: I love that! Thank you. Would you share your blog link and website info so people can check you out?
I’d be honored! The link to my latest blog, “Lionhearted,” is here: https://lionheartedladysite.wordpress.com

I hope it encourages you! And feel free to follow me on Instagram, @therachelschrey .

Interview with Actress Sharonne Lanier, Part 2 of ‘Summer of ’67’ series

posted on: March 12, 2018

Part two of a five-part ‘Summer of ’67’ blog interview series. This incredible lady makes the excuse, “I just don’t have time.” seem even more lame. She wears many hats including that of a wife, mother, nurse and actress. So I asked her how in the world does she do it all. Her answers are below. Enjoy! 

 To be honest with you, I don’t really know! It’s got to be by the grace of God! It does help that I nurse part-time as opposed to full-time. When I was nursing full-time I felt like my life was completely out of control, but now that I’ve cut back the hours, it’s not as difficult. I also have a lot of help and support from my husband. Another thing I’ve learned is to step away from non-essential things such as spending hours watching television or on the computer or walking around in the mall…those hours add up and can wreak havoc on your schedule if you’re not careful!

I’ve heard you have also been in a number of Atlanta-based television shows. Which ones and how long?

Most recently I shot an episode of Outcast which airs on Cinemax and an episode of The Originals which airs on the CW. They were both dayplayer roles so only required a couple of days of shooting.

Did you enjoy doing that?

I did really enjoy being on those sets. The lead actors I worked with were great and it’s always good to work alongside people of that caliber… it pushes me to learn and grow as an actress. Another thing I enjoyed about those two shows is that they both required ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) work. I love going into sound studios, not to mention the extra pay involved!

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about God, my family, and most recently just people in general. That may seem kind of weird, but lately I’ve been genuinely interested in people’s well-being whether I know them or not. I don’t know why and I can’t even explain why but I really just want everyone to live the best life possible. I’m also passionate about Family and Christian films. If someone told me these were the only types of productions I could do from now on, I would be so happy. I don’t want to entertain just for the sake of entertaining, but I want to positively motivate people as well as share the love of Christ through my talents.

What wins did you have this week?

I cleaned my house!!! With everything going on, it’s often a struggle to simply clean the house. But by sheer determination, I actually got it done this week…I really am proud of myself!

Can you  tell me what made you decide to follow your career path of nursing?

I needed a decent income to supplement my acting income. Booking a gig, particularly a union gig, can be pretty good money. However, the problem I was running into was that I was not booking the union gigs as often as I needed in order to live a financially stress-free life. For years I struggled with the thought of what else I could do for a living as I only wanted to be an actress. After having my first two sons, I realized nursing could be something for me. I loved the labor and delivery and postpartum nurses I encountered and I thought I would love to be a part of those type of experiences on a normal basis. So that’s what I do! I am a postpartum (Mother-Baby) nurse at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Although acting is still my number one passion career-wise, I absolutely love my patients and am incredibly thankful to have been blessed with such a rewarding second career. 20150706_102915

How did you get involved in Acting? 

I first discovered a love for acting when my 4th grade teacher forced the class to learn Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. That would be my first time performing in front of a large audience and I absolutely became enamored with the feeling! I studied Theatre Performance at the University of Central Florida graduating in 2002 and have been performing ever since.

How long have you been an actress? Does this conflict with nursing in any way?

Most of my nursing shifts are night-weekend shifts which allow me plenty of time to keep up with acting. It’s the perfect part-time job… It definitely beats waiting tables which is what I did for years!

In how many films you have performed up till now? 

Oh my, that’s a tough question as I stopped counting. For a long time, my stage-work far outnumbered my TV/Film credits, but there isn’t much of a gap anymore.  I used to keep tabs, but the number is no longer important to me as I’m now more concentrated on the types of projects I associate myself with.

Are you working on any current projects? 

I wish!!! I’ve been auditioning like crazy for several TV shows, commercials, and films (I have a couple this week), but I’m not currently shooting anything. I am however working to create material for my church (Church at Chapelhill) which I’m really thrilled about! 

What kind of roles have you performed throughout your career? 

I’ve played a number of  different types of roles…medical professionals (how fitting), a sergeant, newscaster, the love interest, the best friend, the mother, of course. I’ve done a one woman show which was extremely fun and challenging. I’ve done a fair share of kid shows. I’ve done comedic and dramatic roles, but I have to admit dramatic roles are my favorite.

What is there to be said of difficult life experiences and how can we transform them?

It’s the only real way to grow. All of the difficult times in my life, and I’ve had some, have truly made me a better person. It’s made me see things clearer and from different perspectives. I think the key is to be willing to learn from hard times as opposed to wallowing in its sadness. I have yet to meet the kid who hasn’t fallen while learning how to walk. It’s a difficult thing for a toddler to keep falling time after time after time, but the reward is beyond great once he has mastered how to walk! I often think about Joseph who was sold into slavery by his own family members! Had he accepted defeat, his rise to greatness would have never been recorded in the Bible.

When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?

Lately I’ve been out of my comfort zone simply by forcing myself to tell people “No”.  The older I get, the more I realize how short life really is. People say that all the time but for me it’s truly becoming reality! This in turn means time has become extremely valuable to me. So when people ask me to do things I don’t want to do, I’m forcing myself to say no when I know I can use the time in a more wisely manner. This pushes me out of my comfort zone because I don’t like disappointing people or hurting their feelings, but I guess a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. 

What is your favorite quote or mantra?

Jeremiah 29:11-13 which states “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Another one is, and I’m not sure who coined it, but “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

What advice would you give someone concerning who they need to become in order to accomplish their wish/dream/goal?

I would tell them what my mom told me over a decade ago. “God gives you dreams and passions for a reason. Don’t run from it.” When I’m doing what I know I’m supposed to be doing, I am so at peace. It’s an incredible feeling! It is worth fighting for and I would encourage you to push and press your way to your destiny…It will be well worth the struggle and the wait!

When do you feel like your true self?

I feel like I am fully me in the presence of my husband and kids. I don’t ever feel pressured to hide my flaws, my faults, my insecurities, my quirkiness…I feel safe because I know they truly accept me for who I am. It’s funny you ask that though because I am currently in the season of trying to be more transparent. After all, God created me to be who I am so why hold back? Why shelter it? Even with answering your questions, I’m just trying to answer honestly without looking so pretty. Hey and even when it comes to acting, I’m constantly working on letting go. It’s not as easy as it sounds because in the back of my head I’m always like there’s someone watching (which is always going to be true when it comes to performing, lol!) But it’s the judging part that I let get in my head.  I’m constantly working to shut that voice off and just fly. I’m not there yet, but I’m on the way!

If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing?

No doubt, I’d be running my own production company right now. There are a number of things that keep me from jumping off that ledge. However, I’m learning to let go which I admit has been a slow process. One thing is for sure though, I will continue to chase after the “brave” me as I know it’s the key to walking in the fullness of my destiny.

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to? 

I absolutely love Joyce Meyer Ministries and the difference they continue to make around the globe, spiritually and physically!

How can people know more about that nonprofit? 

To learn more about them, you can visit JoyceMeyer.org

How can individuals achieve goals without sacrificing their values?

You HAVE to constantly walk with your values in your face… that’s the only way.  Keep them at the front of your mind. You must literally force yourself to make decisions with your values standing right at your side. Don’t allow them to sit in the back seat…Let them speak.

What should every woman know how to do?

Listen!!! We talk too much, lol! Sometimes we just need to shut our pretty little mouths and listen. 

What would your dream project be?

Right now it would be a lead or strong supporting role in a Kendrick Brothers Productions or really working for any top-notch Christ-centered production such as Five and Two Pictures (Rich and Dave Christiano) the Erwin Brothers, Cloud Ten Pictures, you name it! I think it would be beyond incredible to be involved in a fantasy-like faith-based production…Kind of like “Once Upon a Time” meets “War Room!” How awesome would that be?!

Thank you for taking some time off from your busy schedule to answer a few questions about your life!

It was an absolute pleasure! Thank you for having me!

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you?

You can email me at SharonneLanier2013@hotmail.com
You can also go to my website at SharonneLanier.com and contact me via the contact form.

Interview with Sharon Wilharm, Filmmaker, Blogger, Speaker Part One of Summer of ’67 Series

posted on: March 5, 2018

Over the next several weeks, I will feature five incredible women the world needs to know about.

This week we begin the Summer of ’67 series Part One with Filmmaker Sharon Wilharm.

The name of her movie is Summer of ’67, a Vietnam War romance.

You can check out the website www.summerof67.com  and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Summerof67themovie/ to watch the trailer and learn more about the movie.

We will have four of her amazing actresses that we’ll be lining up interviews for to start their film festival circuit in May and they will do a limited theatrical release in late July.
Below is the interview with the strong and beautiful Sharon Wilharm. Enjoy!

Please tell the readers a little about yourself by starting off with 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences. 

I’m Sharon Wilharm, filmmaker, blogger, and speaker. Working together with my husband, I’ve written and directed seven feature films. They’ve screened in festivals around the world, aired on multiple television networks, and sold in bookstores and online outlets including iTunes and Amazon Prime.
Providence, our last movie released as part of the AMC Independent lineup and screened in select theaters across the country including AMC Empire in NYC.
Summer of ’67, our latest film, will make the film festival circuit this summer and release theatrically in late summer.
When I’m not caught up in the filmmaking process, I blog about the faith-based film industry and speak at film festivals and writing conferences.
What are your greatest professional strengths?

I’m a planner. I’m very organized and whatever I’m doing, I give it everything I’ve got. I also try to be kind and respectful of other people. The film industry can be a very stressful environment, but I try to appreciate and encourage cast and crew members as well as fellow filmmakers.

What would be a few of your greatest Weaknesses?

I tend to set unrealistic expectations for myself and feel disappointed when I don’t live up to my expectations.

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to?

I don’t have a pet charity. I much prefer to see an individual need and react to it on a  personal or local level.

What do you think you have had to overcome to be who you are today?

The older I get and the more I learn, the more I realize how much more I have to learn. As a teen and younger adult, I was cocky. I think God had to bring me down a few notches so that I would be a more suitable vessel to be used by Him.

I totally understand that! I believe he has to do that to so many of us. There are so many examples of him doing such to many of his leaders. Saul is one example I can think of. 
What is the last book that has made you cry? 
I read the most amazing book this weekend, and we were literally late for church this morning because I had to finish reading the last chapter before we left. But then I dropped it off at the church library and now, for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the book.

HA! Oh no! Well, if you remember send me a message so I can share that with our readers. We could just say you were reading my book! HAHA-

You are doing so much but what else? What’s your dream job? 

Traveling the country speaking to women’s groups. My favorite place to be is in front of a large crowd, passionately sharing from my heart.
Public speaking is a fear for so many. That’s amazing. We need good public speakers out there. 
Sharon Flowers from front
What is your definition of success? 

I want to impact lives in a big way. I want to leave a legacy that’s still impacting lives long after I’m gone.

Would you say you are successful and in what ways? 

That’s a tough question. I have a fireplace mantle covered with film festival trophies. I’ve been mentioned in film trade magazines, and my movie screened in one of the most famous theaters in the country. I’ve been blessed with what the world would define as success. But have I truly impacted lives? I don’t know. I may never know.

Wow. What a sobering thought.

crown awards
What is your greatest professional achievement?
In 2016 we submitted Providence to the ICVM Crown awards. ICVM is the industry organization for faith films. We were new to the organization, but knew that we would be competing with movies much bigger than ours. We hoped we might get nominated for one award, but really weren’t expecting it. Then we received word we were nominated for four awards! We were blown away, especially when we saw the other films that were up for awards.  We were excited just to attend the awards dinner with no expectations for any recognition beyond the nominations.
Well, first we won third place for “Best Youth Film.” Then second place for “Best Evangelistic” (sandwiched between Beyond the Mask  and War Room !). Then first place for “Best Drama Under $250,000. And finally, out of 55 movies, we were awarded third place for “Best Picture”. The entire experience was surreal. I’m still not sure how that happened, but thankful for the encouragement God offered us that night.

Do you have long term goals that you can share with the readers?

Growing up, my greatest desire was to entertain and inspire audiences. For years I prayed to be able to speak to large crowds, but while I’d have the occasional speaking opportunities, for the most part, God kept saying, “No, not yet… not yet.”
I’m thankful, though, that my filmmaking days are winding down and God is allowing me more speaking opportunities.  I look forward to the time, hopefully in the near future, when I can spend my days writing historical novels and traveling around the country speaking to groups of women.

 If a young person walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

I would tell them to pray diligently and to commit to following God’s lead, even when it doesn’t make sense. I would tell them to take risks and not settle for the safe and easy route for their lives. I would tell them to love God with all their heart.

Have you ever created a vision board? 

Not in the traditional sense, however, I do have Pinterest boards that I use for inspiration.

Do you have a favorite motto that you live by?

Follow God wherever He leads!

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???
My website – www.sharonwilharm.com
My blog – www.faithflix.com
They each have contact forms.
I’d also love if folks could check out Summer of ’67 on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and give us a follow.
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