my story

my story

from formspring:
How did you go from studying religion in college to being Scoutie Girl?

latte art

My personal journey from high school to college, college to full-time work, and full-time work to mom to career, has been a convoluted one. I’m flattered that you’d even ask! But if my story can:

  1. help you to understand me better. or
  2. inspire one person that she can do it too

then it’s completely worth writing.

I didn’t start as a religion major, I applied to Lebanon Valley College as a music education major. To prepare me, I “interned” with my high school band director my senior year of high school. I quickly discovered that I was too big a perfectionist to teach kids music and that I wasn’t talented enough to teach anyone older or more experienced!

So, I entered LVC as a music (trombone) & religion double major.

During my four years, I switched back & forth from one to the other – ultimately graduating with a major in religion, minor (just a few credits shy of major) in music. What I discovered in all of this was a real passion for writing & communicating – oh, and a healthy dose of earth-shaking theology.

My senior year of college, I was completely hooked on religion. I applied to grad school and was accepted on a full-tuition scholarship to Syracuse University to study with one of my theology crushes. Freaking Awesome. I graduated, got a summer job, and waited to move out-of-state and start my life as an academic.

Oh… that summer job… I wanted to be surrounded by my old love: books or my new love: coffee. Luckily for me, I got a job as a barista at bookstore. Sweet! I could buy all the pretentious books I wanted & sip discounted coffee while doing it! I was hooked. A bit too hooked. Oh, and I’m still hooked on the caffeine.

Two weeks before I was to leave for Syracuse, my supervisor quit. Crisis of conscience. I could take a full time job at the place I love & figure out where my life was headed. Or I could follow a path I seemed destined for but offered no clear cut future. Crap. I took the job.

And I worked. hard. and harder. I made my way up the ladder, I took a frighteningly low level of pay to help run a multi-million store, manage human resources, supervise merchandising, and run a coffee shop. The company cut jobs around me and my pay stayed the same even as my responsibilities increased.

When I was 8 months pregnant, my general manager left for a new job. I applied, as I had been trained & groomed for the position. After a killer interview, I had a lot of confidence that I would have a great job & a pay increase to come back to after Lola was born. A week before I gave birth, I got a call from another manager that the position was filled. Not by me.

Obviously, I can’t make any claims that I was discriminated against due to my pregnancy, but I can tell you that that’s what it felt like.

So I had my baby, took my disability leave, stayed out my FMLA, and then quit.

I started out helping my mom with her Etsy business. Learning the ropes of marketing, teaching myself to blog again (I first started blogging in college), and discovering a thriving community of women just like me. In December 2008, my mom gave me the idea for Handmade in PA, my first serious blog.

It thrived! I was on cloud nine knowing that I had created something of value to people. I met Jan, the founder of Scoutie Girl, through Handmade in PA, after discovering through a coincidence of photography, that we lived just two blocks away from each other. We kept in touch, Handmade in PA grew & grew, and all the while Jan’s business grew in a way that made maintaining Scoutie Girl near impossible.

We began discussing the possibility of me taking over the SG side of her business. Slowly, very slowly, the idea took hold. And in July 2009, I purchased Scoutie Girl and took over editorial control.

I still go to the bookstore often. Last time I went, I saw a woman who worked for me & struggled with her dreams, never seeming to make them reality. She asked me what I was doing now: “I write.”

Wow. That’s what I do for a living: I write. I communicate. I call my own shots.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

{image credit: dennis wong via flickr}