Shaunna and I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts where you got to meet some of our hostesses and members, to hear straight from them what Nourish is all about. We are kicking off this series with Holly! She has quickly become someone we just love and adore and think you will too. Can’t wait for you to get to know her.
Q. Hey Holly! Thanks for doing this – why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
A. I’m a 38 year old mom of 2 and stepmom of 2 that live with us half time. We are the modern day Brady Bunch of sorts, minus the Alice! (Sure wish I had an Alice) I got married at the wise old age of 19 and quit college.That lasted 6 years and I have 2 beautiful kids to show for it. I was a single mom for 4 years, and they were the toughest of my life. But I decided I wanted more for my life, whether I got remarried or not, so I went back to school and became a Nurse Practitioner. During my last year in grad school, my life changed forever when my 8 year old son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was a whirlwind of a summer and I barely finished school but I made it and met my now husband shortly after. My son has gone through a lot, but he’s alive and well at age 17 now and stable according to the last scan (my, how time flies). I’ve been in Charlotte for 7 years now, came here after I met my husband online and fell in love. He is a chiropractor that owns a small business and I work both in his office and an outside job. We really don’t have a lot of time for hobbies, but in the last couple years I have made it more of a priority and we have taken up shooting guns. I attend a ladies night at a local range and I can’t tell you how therapeutic it is! I am a Christian and believe solidly in God, although I have strayed many times. I have run away from him, not the other way around. I was raised Southern Baptist but now we attend a great non denominational church. My husband was actually born and raised Catholic and left the church when he was 36 to pursue a closer relationship with God. I believe we are all here for a purpose and part of that is to be the hands and feet of Jesus and love one another unconditionally. I think the “church” can drive so many people away with their legalistic views, shallow and fake facades and part of the reason I love this concept is because it strives to break free from those chains.
Q. How did you get involved with Nourish?
A. I am Facebook friends with lots of different people, and one of those is a pastor, Robbie McLaughlin, who posted something on his page about being real and encouraging that thought. For many years I have felt out of place and frustrated because I see so much shallowness and superficial crap in every venue from church circles to female circles, moms at school, etc. So I posted a comment about how I felt like nobody wanted real and that when people see “real” they back away. He acknowledged my feelings and we were having a discussion about it when a Nourish member chimed in about Nourish and that it would be a great place for me. She and I did not know each other, but struck up a conversation and it felt so right. I was invited to the March dinner and I was ecstatic! I did not know anyone on the guest list, but reading the mission statement of Nourish literally made me cry because I felt like somebody else “got it!” When the week of the dinner came around, the host and her family got sick and had to cancel. After asking if anyone was willing to volunteer in her place, I took the leap and said “I don’t know a soul, but I will!” It was a great decision and such a wonderful opportunity.
Q. What about the concept of this community resonated with you?
A. Being real as a female in this world is so hard. From every avenue, from the time we are small girls we are told we need to be different. Just take a look at media, fashion, movies…we need this product, this item of clothing, this type of house, this type of education, I could go on forever. And never mind the Pinterest ideas for making the best, healthy, organic snacks for your angels. You get my point – but none of this is real! We are not always beautiful, not always nice, not always on time, our kids eat junk sometimes, our house is a mess, our relationships are strained in many ways because of this pressure we put on ourselves. The concept of Nourish resonated with me because I’m tired of it all! I want to be real. I want you guys to know that I sometimes lose my temper, my house is a wreck most days, my hair is not naturally like this and is 50% grey. I have to spend an ungodly amount of time on it to look this way. All these things, I am suspecting and taking a chance on, are things we all struggle with. And if one of us just stands up and shouts to the world, “I’m so tired of this! Can’t we just be real?” maybe others will hear and open their hearts too because they are not afraid.
Q. Tell us about your past experiences with trying to find a group of women who are authentic.
A. Ohhhh, this one touches a nerve! I’ve attempted to be a part of groups with my kids schools, groups at church, etc and never felt comfortable. I would reach out to someone, only to have her brush me off or not come through like she said she would. It really hurt me and caused me to almost give up. I have attended some local parties and never really heard anyone be authentic. I hated it! And I guess it showed because I didn’t get many invitations. I’m not very good at shallow, small talk. It’s like when you show up at church and everyone is saying hello and how are you and everyone says “good, and you?” when in reality we are NOT fine. We are broken and need help! Especially women, the pillars of our families, one of the most important pieces of the family unit and so influential.
Q. What do you hope to gain by being a part of Nourish?
A. I want to learn about other women, learn to share with them openly and honestly, to support one another, learn to be myself, laugh, cry, love and learn to be truly authentic. I want to show them that there IS a place you can go where you are loved and accepted, even if you are not perfect. Actually BECAUSE you are not perfect! It’s here, with us.
Q. To the woman on the fence about attending her first Nourish dinner, what would you tell her?
A. Go for it! Don’t wait! It will be the best thing you’ve done for yourself in a long time, I guarantee it!
Q. What about someone thinking about hosting for the first time? Is it difficult or time consuming?
A. Hostessing to me is a privilege and a gift. My kids are older and I enjoy giving the mothers of young ones a break. I don’t think it’s difficult because the women that come are only seeking acceptance. I tell people, leave the mask at the door! I enjoy trying to make my home a place like that and hopefully people feel that. I spend a couple of hours on Saturday getting ready between cleaning, shopping/cooking. I really should stop the cleaning part, I guess I’m a hypocrite! I’m a work in progress too, that’s the point of Nourish, to help us grow and support one another. To nourish one another in body, soul and spirit and band together as sisters on this amazing journey of life and womanhood. It doesn’t matter if your house is large or small, new or old. Love doesn’t care! When you are vulnerable, you open the door for others to be vulnerable and that’s what starts the chain reaction of sharing, learning and healing.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, Holly!
If you are interested in attending or hosting a Nourish dinner, please email us at NourishCLT@gmail.com