Steph and Beth take the first step—they introduce themselves! But as you’ll hear in this episode, taking things one step at a time is a great tool for getting things done.
Beth and Steph talk about how they first became friends and share about the big pivots they’ve made in their lives in the time since they first met. How did Steph go from Lead Creative with Apple to working at a church to launching Mother Daughter Projects? How did Beth go from being a lawyer to writing a blog and becoming a pastor?
You’ll also get a preview of Steph’s book, Discovering My Scars, and hear these friends have an honest conversation about why they are entering the world of podcasting.
Some of the things we mentioned in this Episode:
Questions for Reflection
At the end of each episode, we offer you some Questions for Reflection. You can pause the show and reflect on the questions right then and there, or you can download one of these PDFs and journal your reflections.
Beth: Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars Podcast!
Steph: Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different. I'm Steph.
Beth: And I'm Beth. Welcome to our inaugural episode!
Steph: Number one!
Beth: Number one, the one that you only ever get to do once! There's only ever one first time. So here we are offering you ourselves through this podcast. So what are we doing here? Well, this podcast is all about, like Steph said, honest conversations about the things that make us different. And by that we mean anything that makes you a little bit uncomfortable. Anything that you think, I'm not sure it's okay to talk about that if I mentioned that it might, might make people run the other way in terror,
Steph: Gonna talk about it.
Beth: We're going to talk about all of those things. And that's because we have been on a journey--within our friendship and individually--we've been on a journey of self-awareness. And so we've kind of taken the edge off a lot of those things for ourselves. But Steph, you know, this podcast was really your idea. So what are we doing here? Why did I agree to this?
Steph: Well, that is a really good question, Beth. Before I tell you why we're here, I'm going to tell you where we are. We are actually in Tallahassee, Florida and we are in my office at my house. And if you ever hear any whining in the background, it is not Beth. It is my dog. I have a greyhound that I adopted a couple months ago, so it's almost been five months now. So if you hear noises...
Beth: Time flies!
Steph: I know time flies when you have the most amazing dog ever. Right. Mack is amazing. Absolutely. And actually, you said that we're in your home office, but actually this is also the Mother Daughter Project studio.
Beth: That is true. I feel pretty, I feel pretty special that I get to be in here because, um, I am not part of the Mother Daughter Projects team. I'm just a fan girl.
Steph: Oh goodness. Well, yes. I, along with the podcast that we're doing right here, I also have just recently written a book, and my full-time job is actually to make DIY videos for homeowners. And I do that with my mom. It's called Mother Daughter Projects. We've been doing that for four years. That it's been our full time Gig for four years is pretty cool. But my book, goodness gracious, this book I wrote? I started writing my memoir two years ago and a lot of people have been asking a memoir at 33, what do you got to say? And I say, well read my book and then you, you tell me if I have anything to say. I don't know.
Beth: They only say that because they haven't read the book yet and because they haven't met you and they don't know how compelling your story is and not just the facts of your story, but really the way that you delved into some really hard topics. And really you're going to hear me say this over and over and over again, but self-awareness, self-awareness, self-awareness. There's a lot that I have learned from watching you on this journey and being your friend through this journey. But why don't you tell us about the, because I think it will help everyone understand the podcast better, too. So what is the book called?
Steph: My book is called Discovering My Scars.
Beth: Oh. And this podcast is called Discovering Our Scars!
Steph: Oh my gosh, Beth!
Beth: That was such a coincidence. Oh, that's amazing. Now what scars are we talking about?
Steph: The whole concept is scars. The name really came to me because I do have some actual scars. Some of the things I've dealt with in my life revolve around different mental illnesses. And one of the things I used to cope with was Non-Suicidal Self-Injury. And I was in a mental hospital because of a big event that happened that I talked about in the book. But I do have some visible scars on my left arm...
Beth: We're going to talk about Steph's trip to the mental hospital. We're going to talk about it here on the podcast. So that'll be in an upcoming episode.
Steph: Yeah. Beth had an idea, she's like, we should call it "Steph's Trip to the Mental Hospital." I was like, oh, that's such a better title than mine 'cause that's super accurate.
Beth: That's what happened.
Steph: But the scars to me is way deeper than what we can physically see. The scars that I talk about in my book are really scars that were on my heart that I didn't know were there--things that happened to me as a child that I didn't discover until I was older. I realized why I dealt with so many different coping mechanisms because of some stuff that had happened to me as a child. And that's really what I dig into in the book. And as Beth said, we will talk about on the show. So, the whole idea of the podcast was just to be another way to share my book and also to go even deeper than that. So we will go into each chapter of my book a little bit deeper and talk about things that I wasn't able to put in the book. And we'll have people on the show from my book, people that are part of my story. But we're also going to talk about deeper stuff. We're going to bring people onto the show that can talk on subjects that we don't have experience with. I have a friend who has a physical disability, and I asked her if she'd be willing to come talk about that. And she said, "yes, of course!" And I have a mental disability that affects me on a daily basis that we'll be able to dig into. And the whole idea of the podcast is a safe place where people can hear something that they can relate to or here's something that they can, uh, help them relate to someone in their lives and just be a place where we can just be honest. Because you know what, I honestly, was just tired of sugarcoating things and you know, talking about just what we're supposed to talk about in polite conversation and "how's the weather," you know? We're not going to talk about the weather here, right?
Beth: There's a lot more to be gained from being vulnerable and being authentic. That's why we are committed to the idea of talking about all those things that just make people uncomfortable. So whether it's a religious taboo or whether it's just a stereotype that we want to tackle or whether it's a personal taboo. You know, I think the idiom for it is a skeleton in the closet, right? Something that you don't want to talk about or that is in your family that you don't want to talk about. Well, we're going to break down all of those barriers and your book is our excuse!
Steph: Yeah, that's true!
Beth: Because in the book, which I have had the privilege to read--now, when will other people get to read that?
Steph: In bookstores in January. But I will be getting...
Beth: That's too long! We can't wait! The world needs it now!
Steph: I know. Potentially I'm going to be getting copies sooner than that that I can sell on my website. So I'm considering that and will let you know if and when that is happening. But the e-book and audio book will be out probably around October, so we'll definitely keep you up to date to when.
Beth: And we should give one away! Don't you think we should give away a copy?
Beth: All right, well stay tuned. We'll figure out how to do that.
Steph: I'll let you know when I have the copies.
Beth: Yes, that's very exciting!
Steph: I mean Beth gets the first copy and then we'll give it to other friends.
Beth: And also, you should definitely read the foreword. I mean sometimes when you get a book you might skip the foreword, but I happen to know that in this book the foreword is pretty good.
Steph: I have to say the foreword is the very best! It is written by none other than my co-host Beth, she wrote the foreword. It was actually my mom's idea. She's like Beth should write your foreword. I was like, oh my gosh, that is so true! Like she is so she's so eloquent with words in ways that I'm not and that's another reason why I really wanted her as a cohost. When I had the idea for the podcast, I thought I can't do it alone, number one and number two, Beth, that's the only name that came to my mind.
Beth: I'm so glad. I'm so glad because I love podcasts. I know that we share that we would love to listen to podcasts. I love podcasts and I am excited to be able to do this with you and to create content with you because actually we both in our own ways have been content creators now for a few years. We originally met because we worked at a church together. I was the Interim Director of Children's Ministries and you were?
Steph: I was the Director of Technology Ministries.
Beth: Right? Can you imagine being the Director of Technology Ministries? Who's ministering to technology? That doesn't even make sense, but that's what we called you. So you were in charge of all of our production ...
Steph: I ministered ministry through, I put the words on the screen and I, you know, put the sermons online. There's ministry through that.
Beth: No, absolutely. You made amazing videos. You did, you did a lot. Actually, you created content there too. And you managed volunteers and you did a whole, it was a whole thing. So that's how we met is that we are working at Killearn United Methodist Church together and you and a coworker came into my office one day and said, "listen, we want to start a Step Study where we have a small group of women who are all on staff at this church and we work through the 12-steps of recovery together." The church happened to have a Celebrate Recovery program, which you're gonna hear us talk about. We think it's amazing. We think that we think that everyone should be in recovery because everybody's got a hurt, a habit or a hangup that they need to work on. So you and our coworker came in and said, "we want to start this Step Study and we want to work the 12 steps together." I am all about self-awareness and I'm all about drawing closer to God through self-awareness. And so I said, yes, I absolutely want to do that. And so really our friendship started by us immediately getting into the hard stuff, right? We just, we're pouring our, pouring our hearts out week after week. It's a pretty great foundation for a friendship.
Steph: Yeah, that's true. It was like the deepest deep dive you can do in a friendship. It was a nine-month process that we all went through and I definitely felt after that process, all of the ladies in the Step Study I just felt such a connection to and I still stay in contact with because it was just such a cool and hard time as well. As much as it was like allowing me to like fully breathe, I was also like, it was hard. It was hard.
Beth: It was hard to, the 12 steps are hard and you're going to, you're going to hear us talk about those and we're going to have a guest on who can talk about them even more than we can. She was actually the leader of our Step Study, so we're hoping to get her on.
Steph: We should probably say that we haven't asked her yet ...
Beth: But we're confident that we can persuade her. So, um, the thing about working the 12 steps together is that you have to go through a personal inventory. And that brings up a lot of things that you might have been burying down. So we went through all of that together and then we stayed friends after the Step Study. And how many of us were there in that? There were only five of us, right?
Steph: There was five of us. Yeah.
Beth: There was five of us and now three of the five have gone to Seminary. Uh, I would be one of those three, but it doesn't seem like that's the direction that you're headed.
Steph: I kick and scream. I'm not going to seminary! I don't know how that happened that three of you guys got involved with that. But you've gotta share though. You got to share about that.
Beth: Well it is pretty crazy to be back in school at this point in my life 'cause I'm older than Steph. I'm 43 and I haven't been in school since the 1900's. I graduated from law school in 1999 and practiced law for about six years and then decided that that I was going to take advantage of the opportunity to be a stay at home mom with my kids. Both my kids are adopted from Russia. That's a whole, a whole 'nother topic that we're going to get into
Steph: Multiple episodes, there.
Beth: Multiple episodes. I decided I was going to stay home with them and just kind of put a pin in that career thinking I was going to go back to it when they got older. And then when they were toddlers, I really fell apart. I dealt with a lot of anger and dealt with a lot of things that I had just been stuffing down. So found myself in therapy. All of that actually predated our Step Study. So I had already done a lot of that work and that's why I was so open to it when you and our coworker came in. So when it was time to kind of go back to work, I thought, what does God want me to do? Through my struggle with anger, I had really deepened my devotional life. And so I was asking, you know, "God, what should I be doing with my life?" And it was not to go back to the practice of law right away. So I spent time teaching Bible workshops, leading retreats. I created this curriculum called Bible 100 where I take people through the whole Bible, Genesis to Revelation in 100 minutes or less, but it's never really less.
Beth: So, um, the idea of being that I ... First of all, let me just say like being a Christian is so wacky and so wackadoodle crazy and there are so many cliches and there are so many things about it that I think right away put people on guard. So, let me just say, we're not that kind of Christian, right?
Steph: Like we're not the stereotype Christian.
Beth: We aren't very good Christians is sort of maybe the way to say it.
Steph: Uh! I think we're the best Christians!
Beth: Oh, right!
Steph: I would say we are.
Beth: And since humility is a feature of Christianity, that kind of proves my point.
Steph: We, we will be digging a lot more into that and all of those topics. But uh, yeah, on paper, I guess you would say if you were to look at the cliche Christian, we're not good Christians. Yeah.
Beth: Right, I think.
Steph: We don't, we don't hate people.
Beth: No. There's no hate.
Steph: We haven't done a good job at that.
Beth: We know that God loves everybody. I mean--
Steph: We don't--
Steph: we don't have like picket signs that say, you know, take someone down.
Steph: No we haven't done that.
Beth: I am in seminary now. I am serving as a pastor rather than serving as a lawyer. We've continued to stay in touch even after the Step Study as we, as our journeys have really gone in different directions and yet parallel directions because as I was out there creating content and creating Bible studies and trying to teach workshops and lead retreats, you were creating Mother Daughter Projects with your mom. Tell us more about that.
Steph: I make DIY videos with my mom. I was re-screening the back porch of my house a couple of years ago and my mom came over to help me because growing up I had helped her with all the house projects. So I was like, "hey mom, I have my own house now. Come on, come help me." We re-screened it and she said, "you know, that was pretty easy. You should make YouTube video about it." And long story short, but we now make YouTube videos.
Beth: You are really, really underselling Mother Daughter Projects.
Steph: I don't know how to sell very well.
Beth: It's amazing. You guys have done a lot of incredible projects. You've got, you've got projects that every homeowner needs to deal with. Like what do you do when you have to change that weird thing in the bottom of the sink? Like when you have to learn how to let it go.
Steph: Oh! The the sink stopper.
Beth: Oh, is it is officially called "the sink stopper"?
Steph: The stopper.
Beth: Oh, I thought it had a name. A more technical name.
Steph: We made a video about it.
Beth: I know. I watched it!
Steph: Did you clean your sink?
Steph: Well, she's watched it though. That's this first step.
Beth: I watched the video!
Steph: That's step one.
Beth: I now feel like I'm better equipped if I need to release the sink stopper. My point is that you've done everything from those kinds of home maintenance projects all the way to some really cool builds that you've done. And so it's a, it's a whole variety. And it's how you make your full time living! So when you're like, "oh, by the way, I just make YouTube videos with my mom." It's not, that's not really what Mother Daughter Projects is.
Steph: That's true. It is. It's actually a full fledged business. We've been doing it for four years now. We have multiple sponsorships and it's, you know, when I opened my email each day it's related to Mother Daughter Projects. Kind of the book and the podcast and all of this is just kind of taking a huge leap in another direction. But still in the online content world, cause I, I've gotten as much as I'm uncomfortable with it 'cause I'm not like let me talk in front of a mic and let me talk for the camera. I'm not super comfortable with it. But if I feel like there's value I can add to a space, then I want to do that. And that's, that's the reason why I'm in front of this mic today.
Beth: So Mother Daughter Projects was one pivot that you made because you were working full-time as the Director of Technology Ministries, you pivoted to create Mother Daughter Projects. But even coming to work at the church was a big pivot. What were you doing before that?
Steph: So I grew up in Tallahassee, but for college I went to University Central Florida in Orlando. While I was going to school there. I actually started working at the Apple Store in the Millennium Mall and I really enjoyed that. I worked there for five years. Even after I graduated school, I became a full time lead creative and got great leadership training, had a great experience there. But after five years I had a nephew and I had a nephew that was just born and I realized that I hated being four hours away in Orlando when they were in Tallahassee. And so, um, I kinda took a leap of faith and um, told my, my boss then I quit apple and he was super awesome about it. I, I actually gave them a month's notice, so you know, way more than two weeks notice and I let them know why I was leaving and that I still love the company and I still do. Today all my products are Apple products!
Steph: As I was going to the meeting to quit my job at Apple, I got an email from my mom that was a job description for the job of Director of Technology Ministries at Killearn. And so I went and quit my job at Apple. Then I applied for that job at Killearn. And a couple of weeks later, I got that job. My official end date at Apple actually was my official hire date with Killearn, so there was no time in between. So it was a pretty cool God moment that uh, I could not have made happen on my own.
Beth: So you pivoted from corporate America 'cause even if it's a great corporation, still corporate America. You pivoted from that to working at a church. Which is not like corporate America?
Steph: No! I will tell you that for sure. Which I knew going in.
Beth: A little bit different. And then you pivoted from the church to, to doing Mother Daughter Projects. And as you have been creating content for Mother Daughter Projects, you actually, I mean this book has really been writing itself in you. This, this memoir is one that has to be shared. The stories when it has to be shared. So what has that process been like?
Steph: Last two years I've been writing the book. I really started the book actually 12 years ago when I was in a mental hospital is when I started writing it. I started a couple of pages and never went back to it. But since that time I've just kept feeling like this book was inside and needed to come out. And for the last two years is when I realized I could have the space to do that. My job really has allowed me to have freedom and set my schedules and to really set aside time to work on the book and have the mental space to do that where I couldn't have, when I had my traditional nine to five jobs. Knowing ultimately I wanted to share it in a public way, not knowing how it was going to make that happen. Not knowing how it was going to get published. I just, I was like, I don't know the process, just knowing that I need to write it, number one. And then the next steps well, I'll handle those when they come along. And that's what's been happening. The book is actually--I just got the interior copy of the book in my email today from my publishing company for me to review. Every little step, I'm just like, oh, this is so nerve wracking. But um, I just keep moving forward. And I say, okay, I'll review interior. This is the step I have today and then tomorrow I'll deal with the next step. And that's how I've been able to really go through the process. If I had, like before I even wrote the book, if I was like, okay, well how am I going to get a publisher? Or, how am I you know, going to market it? If I had tried to figure all that out at the beginning, I would have been like, okay, no, I'm done. I'm not, I can't do this. But I just took it one little piece at a time. And here I am today recording a podcast that was inspired by a book. I have no idea how I got here.
Beth: I have to say, I mean, there's a lot that I've learned from you, but as, as we've, as we've been putting the podcast together, watching how methodical you are and how you are able to use the idea of just taking the next step, the way that you use that to prevent discouragement and overwhelm is teaching me a lot. Right? So I think that that's been a theme for you. You didn't know exactly what it was going to be like to not work at Apple anymore, but you just took it one day at a time. Step one is you had to resign from Apple, right? Step two was okay, get another job. Step three was move to Tallahassee. So kind of taking it step by step. Same with Mother Daughter Projects. Same with writing your book even. You know, and the thing about the book that sticks with me, and that I think will really stick with people, is the way that you analyze yourself. The way that you analyze, um, why it is that you used Non-Suicidal Self-Injury as a coping mechanism. Why there was maybe a disconnect between your brain and your heart. I don't want to give away too much because you know, I know, I know we're going to be talking about the book in upcoming episodes. I think that there's a lot other people can learn from that. So is that what you're hoping people will get from the book? What are you, what are you hoping for?
Steph: Wow, that's a really good question.
Beth: I ask the best questions!
Steph: You do ask the best questions, that's why you're the cohost! Um, I, I haven't really figured out like this is what I want people to get from the book. I honestly don't know. I just know I needed to get it out and I knew it needed to be out in a public way. What happens when it's out there? I don't know. I would hope that someone that has dealt with some of the similar issues to me, could read the book and know that they're not alone and know that it does get better and--
Beth: That is a gift. To know that you're not alone, that is a real gift.
Steph: Also for someone that may be struggling with a family member or friend that has gone through some of the issues I have gone through. And hope, hopefully, they can try to understand that person a little bit better. By reading my book, I really tried to dig into how it feels when I deal with Non-Suicidal Self-Injury or when, uh, I have a flashback from my PTSD. I tried it to really dig into those to help people understand them. Cause if you've never, if you've never dealt with them, then it's just very like people don't want to talk about it. They think you're trying to kill, you know, you're trying to kill yourself that these are all these like cliches that have happened to me when I tried to talk about it. And so the idea of the book was to really be able to dig into the feeling so someone can hopefully understand that feeling in some capacity.
Beth: I'm mean, I've never dealt with Non-Suicidal Self-Injury--my coping mechanisms are different--but I felt a connection to you in reading the book because I certainly have felt misunderstood. And so I think anybody who has that feeling can relate to the time when you're in your dorm room and they think that you're trying to kill yourself and you're just not. Right? But it ends up with this involuntary trip to the mental hospital that I cannot wait to talk about. Um, and everything that gets revealed in the book and that we're going to reveal on these, uh, on these upcoming episodes. So our goal with the podcast is really that with each episode we're going to tackle a different uncomfortable topic or a cliche in the area of mental health or religion or even personal taboo and, and other things too. We would just want to break those down. We want to create space, we want to have honest conversations. That's really what our friendship is built on and we want to be authentic with you and we want you to be authentic with us too. So actually we've created a voicemail line so that you can call in. We're going to ask a question each episode and we want you to call in with your response to that. The phone number to call is 850-270-3308. (850) 270-3308.
Steph: And the question we have for you today is: "What uncomfortable topic would you like to hear a conversation about in the future?" Don't have to go online, just grab your telephone, your cell phone and dial that number and it will be a voicemail that you can just leave us a voicemail and we'll download those responses and we'll play them on our next episode.
Beth: Really looking forward to hearing from you and hearing about what uncomfortable topics you would like to hear an honest conversation about.
Steph: For each episode, we'd love to end with Questions for Reflection for you. So we're really going to be talking about things that we've experienced in our lives on these episodes, but we want to give you a chance to think through some of these for yourselves. Right now we're going to ask you just a couple of questions that you can answer personally. You can answer them in your head, out loud, you can write them down, whatever works for you. This is, this is all about you. This is your time right now. So we are going to read them out as we close the episode. That will be how we close the episode, but we'll also have them in our podcast show notes that will be linked in our description for the podcast so that you can read them at anytime, write them in a journal, however you want to do some self reflection.
Beth: Today Steph and I shared about some of our big pivots. So we want you to reflect on a time when you felt the need to make a major change in your life. What was at stake? What guided you as you considered your options? What happened? And in reflecting on it, is there anything that you wish you had done differently?
Mental Health Advocate. Author. Podcast Host. DIYer. Greyhound Mom.