When Andrea and I met last month at the 140 Conference in Hutchinson, Kansas, we hit it off immediately, because we shared many of the same small town/rural struggles. Her accomplishments and perseverance impressed me. Please welcome my new friend and RWR sister, Andrea Cook!
My name is Andrea Cook and I'm rocking the rural life in Indiana, home to John Cougar. I was born in a small town and I'll probably die in a small town. All of the places in between are what have enriched my life story and I am looking forward to sharing as a guest to Rural Women Rock site that cute lil Miss. Duffy, also known as Kasse has just launched.
When I first met Kasse in Kansas at a #140 conference for Small Towns, I did not know what would grow from the kindred spirit of two creative Christian women striving to find success and purpose while living in a rural community. I did know that I had met a new friend who understood the challenges of stepping up as a creative businesswoman and mom in a small town.
When I listened to Kasse's stories she shared about running her own business, I related to the fear and faith of taking the next step and going where God leads. As she steps forward in faith and creates this community of likeminded rural women bloggers, I smile with girl pride and cheer for her along the way.
She has invited me to be part of her new community and I am honored and grateful. I admit that despite the world of new social media technologies, that boasts of engaging communities and social networks, I desperately yearn to connect and be part of something bigger and better than just “me, myself, and I.”
I'm looking to connect with (one or more of the following:
__ other gals throughout the rural landscapes
__ ladies who are business leaders
__ mommas to hyperactive and highly sensitive girls
__ married to the love of their lives
__ entrepreneurial, creative, social media movers & shakers
__ coworking dwellers
__ pug lovers
__ broken party girl turned born-again Christians
__ Chicago has-beens
__ Chicago has-beens
__ Honda Odysseus drivers desperately seeking convertible due to mid-life crisis 39 year old types
Here is just a small part of my big story:
Just four years ago I relocated to a small town in northern Indiana. I live in Culver, Indiana, population of about 1500. Culver is home to Culver Military Academies. The Culver Academies is a prestigious boarding school that has educated some of the world's leaders for over a hundred years. My husband teaches science, mainly physics, engineering and chemistry. We have two highly spirited daughters who keep us on our toes.
I run a marketing consultancy, The Midas Center in Plymouth, Indiana, another small town nearby. It is a twenty minute drive and has a population just over 10K. When I decided to go back to work after taking a two year stay at home sabbatical, I created hyperlocal media sites for local businesses to get a presence online. I called this part of my business I HEART Green Media and have community sites like , and
I started these sites in hopes to help the local ma-pa businesses get online. After investing a lot of my resources (time, money, heart and soul) into this venture, I have recently concluded that this business has failed. I still keep the sites live and believe in them even though there is not enough local support for them to thrive. I'm learning a lot about the local culture. Most importantly, I've learned that I will never understand the fixed mindset of a small town. I have purchased a historical downtown building and I am managing a cowork space. I am also trying to roll out some other services to markets beyond the local sphere. Some of the services I provide include “Event Correspondent” live blogging and social media coaching, strategy and management.
Did I mention that I'm turning forty in December? This is causing me a manageable level of anxiety as I continue to seek my purpose, professionally. I want to make an impact. I am willing to live courageously. Since starting my career in 1998, I've boldly said “bring it.” I step forward, I fail, I fall and get back up and repeat it. Have you experienced this much? It isn't recommended but I think that this is what life is all about: stepping up, falling down, accepting failure and having faith to do it again.
As we share our stories with each other, I hope that we can also share encouragement that will help spark that faith component in our lives. There was a faith spark when I first met Kasse at a salt mine, of all places! We are called to be the salt of the earth and our struggles are what cause the full flavor of life for ourselves and others. Although miles apart, the struggles Kasse and I both face of wanting something more for our lives connected us and we have a bond in knowing that there is someone else out there who understands the unique challenges and rewards rural life brings.
I hope we can connect. We can share. We can step up, fall, fail and repeat.
Whatever you do, be fabulous.