Our blog is written by a variety of supporters of Girls With Confidence.  This month our Guest Blogger is Gayle Erickson who is the Author of Grannie Panties are UnderRated.  Gayle Erickson is a Colorado native and graduate of Colorado College. After graduation, she taught English in Tokyo, Japan. Upon returning to the United States, Gayle worked in the software industry and nonprofit sector. She and her husband live in suburban Denver with their twin teenagers and two dogs. 

We've recently added Lizzy Aber to our blog team who will blog about things that are relevant to teens and at times.  She love her mature outlook and feel she may provide "parents" with some insight into the ever so complex life of a teenager.  We are thrilled to have her help us with our blog.

We will share these blogs on our website, Emails and in our Social Media sites.  Read our first post to learn more about our purpose for the blogs.  Happy Reading!

Our blog

Being Authentic
Back in August I spent 4 days camping in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina with my junior class as part of a school trip. All 121 of us were divided into groups of eleven, the goal: to put yourself in a group with people you don’t commonly hang out with at school, something they did very successfully for my group.

On the second day, after a two hour hike, our guide stopped at a running river with the most cool, clear water flowing into a miniature, naturally made pool. We climbed into the chilly water, laughing as we slipped on the slippery rocks trying to find our way upstream. Some of us splashing around trying to regain our balance, some holding on to one another so we didn’t fall. Soon many of us ended up just sitting in the river laughing at one another’s pathetic attempts to stay balanced.

All of a sudden I was overcome with an emotion that caught me off guard. Looking around at these people who I learned more about than I thought I ever would, I was overcome with genuine happiness. It was as if everything I had stressed about or worried about had just floated away into the current of the river. Everything that has happened to me in high school, good or bad, had led to this right here, with people who I would have never thought I would know that well.

On our last night, as the rain started on our tents, we all gathered under the biggest tent until it was pitch black just… talking. We just talked about our lives and things we had gone through or done. With only the glow of a flashlight illuminating our faces we learned things about one another no one could have ever assumed.

I think my biggest takeaways from my experience were two things. The first, to truly understand and get to know people whose lives are completely different from yours. Whether it be people who come from lower or higher income households, divorced parents, people who struggle with their sexual identity or religion, or people that have completely different interests.

The truth is, most of the people you see that seem perfect and confident on the outside are typically the people that need someone to understand that they aren’t. The second thing is to stop. To stop and witness. The entire trip was one big slow motion montage like you see on social media. As cliche as it sounds, and I know it does, trust me, it was really beautiful. Not just witnessing nature in its purest form but people in theirs. Seeing people be true to who they are is an amazing thing you really don’t get to see everyday.

Lizzy Aber
Teen Blogger- Girls With Confidence

Live Boldly!
As I adjusted the microphone in front of me, my hand shook ever so slightly. I hoped no one noticed this, or the beads of perspiration beginning to form around my neck and under my armpits. I’m sure my face was a bright, beet red. I took a sip of water to quench my dry throat and tried to reassure myself – you can do this.

On my best day, it’s a struggle to speak in front of an audience, but tonight was different. Tonight, I was delivering a eulogy for my beloved dad in front of church packed full of his friends and loved ones. I didn’t want to screw this up.

The good news was, my dad was a funny guy. A former high school teacher, he was known for his irreverent sense of humor and frequent use of colorful language. He wouldn’t have gone for an overly sentimental type of eulogy, praising his many wonderful qualities. No, he would want people to laugh so, in honor of his spirit, I had gained permission from his pastor to keep it real - my eulogy was mainly the retelling of funny, and in many cases rather risqué, stories about him. Why was I so nervous then? That shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Feeling more confident, I looked up and out into the audience and noticed Father Kellerman, a Jesuit priest at the Catholic high school my children are students at, in a back row off to my right. My first reaction was gratitude that he had made the long drive on a school night to attend the service, but this was quickly followed by pure terror. I was about to deliver a eulogy full of racy stories with bad language describing cheeky and sometimes inappropriate behavior in front of a PRIEST!


It was at this moment I realized that, even in his death, my father was still teaching me.

As moms, we are always encouraging our kids to try new things, to get out of their comfort zones. We fill their summers with karate, art classes, science camp, and piano lessons. We want to expose them to all different types of activities – not because we expect them to be good at everything (well, not most of us anyway - we all know those few smug, annoying types who do, in fact, think their children are remarkably talented in every possible way, but never mind them, I’m talking to you, the mom who laughs when her daughter picks dandelions on the soccer field while everyone else is trying to score a goal), no, we do it because we hope they will find something that they really love. Something that makes their souls sing.

And, for the most part, our children relish in these new experiences. Sure, learning to swim can be scary, but most often our kids enter each new activity with a childlike wonder and excitement. “I can make a pot out of clay? Wow! Cool!” Having yummy snacks readily available probably also helps, but rarely do our five-years old try something for the first time with fear that they will fail. Have you ever seen a child complete a finger-painting and then turn to look at their friends and worry that theirs isn’t as good? That maybe they should have used blue instead of green? Of course not! It might not have been their favorite activity, but they are proud of what they have accomplished and eager to show off their work. (And eat some goldfish, too)

So why is it that as adults, we encourage our children to try new things, but we never demand the same of ourselves?

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’ll say – we’re too busy. We’re juggling work, and grocery shopping, and orthodontist appointments, and carpools, and getting dinner on the table. Oh yeah, and then we need to pick up school supplies and somehow find time to fit in our kid’s annual physical. AAH! There just isn’t enough time.

I get it. I really do. I’ve been there, I am there. I’m not suggesting we all endeavor to climb Mt. Everest. Surely, though, we have time to take some risks - to learn a few words of French, to take a crack at a new recipe, to attend a Zumba class. What do we have to lose? The waiter at a French restaurant corrects our pronunciation? Nobody in our family likes the meal we prepared? We can’t keep up with the dance instructor? Who cares!

We need to give ourselves permission to make mistakes. When we drop our daughters off at a new activity, do we say, “we expect you to be perfect?” No, we say - “have fun!” How many times have we encouraged our kids to try out for a team, telling them to “do their best” even if they don’t think they will make it? Shouldn’t we hold ourselves to the same standards? We encourage our children regardless, and guess what? Sometimes they make the team, and sometimes they don’t. Does that diminish how proud we are of them?

Never! Not for one minute. Regardless of the outcome, by prodding our children to try new things we are giving them the invaluable gift of confidence. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter one bit what other people say or think or do. They tried. They went for it. If the outcome was what they wanted - hurray! – aren’t they glad they made the effort? And if it wasn’t – yeah, that sucks – but guess what? They survived. They did it and their whole world didn’t fall apart. They picked themselves up, ready to try something new again, understanding that one’s best effort should never be equated with failure. To dare to do is a success in and of itself. What a beautiful lesson!

I thought about all of this as I stood at the podium – why was I so afraid and what advice would my dad have for me now? I knew he was most certainly laughing at my predicament - having a Jesuit priest show up just as I was about to deliver some very off-color remarks was just the type of practical joke he would have orchestrated and found amusing. But even more, I understood my dad was continuing to be my teacher. He pushed me as a child, and he was pushing me now – Don’t worry about what everyone thinks. Have confidence. Believe in yourself. Have fun.

Somewhat reassured, I cleared my throat and began with one of my dad’s favorite stories from college – about how as a pledge in a fraternity, he and the other freshmen had to run the 100-yard dash……..with a marshmallow placed between their butt cheeks. The catch was – the person who lost the race had to eat the marshmallows. (Yuck, right?) I retold how my dad was very proud that he never lost a race and could hear laughter from all his friends in the room – they, too, remembered this story. I looked up with some trepidation at Father Kellerman – would he be shaking his head in disapproval? Would he get up and leave?

Nope. Much to my delight, there was Father Kellerman, his hand covering his mouth, laughing loudly and without abandon. I was filled with relief and joy, the memory of my dad and his crazy antics making me smile in appreciation for his well-lived life.

And so, my father’s final lesson to me was complete: don’t live in fear of failure. Push yourself. Live boldly!

I’ve taken this lesson to heart and challenge you to do the same. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend telling dirty jokes to clergy members, I’m quite sure we all have at least one or two things we’d like to try but have never got around to doing for whatever reasons. So today, resolve to pursue something new, something that will take you out of your comfort zone. Whether it be knitting, or writing a poem, or dying your hair pink – go for it! You’ll be proud of yourself and – take my word for it - you just might be pleasantly surprised by the reaction you get and the fun you will have doing it. (And just as you would for your children, don’t forget to reward yourself with some good snacks afterwards, too)

Gayle Erickson- Author of Grannie Panties are UnderRated and Mom of Twin Teens

Lessons from Irma
Can we take a moment to talk about the mental stress on everyone during the past couple of weeks dealing with Irma? What Hurricane Irma brought all of Florida is not necessarily, what we expected. Whether you stayed put to ride it out, evacuated, or were watching how the storm would impact loved ones from afar, this week took a serious toll on all of us. We felt guilt no matter what spot we were in and in every decision we made. The guilt and fears of making the wrong choice, putting undo stress on others, and the thought of packing up items, and not knowing what you might come back to, was more than most of us could handle. I know for me, seeing friends and lifelong Floridians have fear in their eyes shook me and made me doubt my own choice to stay.

As parents, we felt the mental weight of making sure our kids didn't panic, felt safe, and actually felt like it was a fun experience (sounds crazy right?). We had to look them in the eye, and choose to either explain to them what going on, what could happen, or not. How can you tell your child it’s all going to be o.k. when you are not sure about the future yourself. Being an adult this week was harder than it has been before.

Then, Irma took her time and the more we anticipated, the more we stressed. It was literally the longest week ever. We tried to stay busy and keep our families entertained while feeling trapped whether we stayed or left. Then we watched the news and weather constantly. I feel like the news and media let us down. The fear mongering and doom and gloom vibe of each report made me feel worse instead of helping me prepare and feel ready. Trying to find other things to do and stay positive was even more exhausting. Store shelves emptying, waiting for gas, running around while there are still blue skies, and checking of those mental checklists was even harder on us.

We in the Tampa area, for the most part, feel lucky. Other areas were much harder hit. Irma passing right over us, but only as a 2, was such a relief. Most of the kids even ended up sleeping through it. I am not sure about you, but I don’t think I slept a wink all week!

WE ARE ALL BURNT. So let’s talk about that stress. What to do with it now. We all cope in different ways, even the kids. So whether you need to let loose and go mudding in a field, take some alone time, make jokes or memes, take the time to pray on it, have a couple of glasses of wine or just nap or cry…. do it. We also need to make sure we are listening to our kids and helping them deal with it. Validate their feelings and let them vent, or play, or ignore the whole thing if they need to. Take care of yourself and others, and be kind. Everyone is dealing in a different way with the stress and choices over the past few weeks. As Mr. Rogers said, “Look for the helpers”. Put some of that stress and guilt into doing good for others. There are many local charities working relief efforts, supporting the lineman, and others working putting towns back together. Do what you can, but most of all, take care of each other and don't hesitate to check in on those around you who may need it.

Rachael Andrews- Instructor & Mentor, Girls With Confidence

Everyone Loves A Compliment
How do you feel when someone tells you that you look nice today? Or your hair looks good? Or that you’re smart? However, those staple compliments pale in comparison with the most important, perhaps the most clichéd, one. “I appreciate you.” Everyone has heard the classic “tell your loved ones you love them,” or “tell them how much you appreciate them,” when the truth is no one does it anymore.

I’m not saying you have to write your best friend some cheesy, sappy love note gushing about how amazing they are. All you have to do is thank them when they listen to you, or when they do something nice for you, or when they look out for you. It’s really not that hard to tell someone they’re being a good person.

People come into your life for all sorts of reasons, good or bad. The one’s who make your life better, the ones who put a positive impact on your life, should be celebrated. Whether or not they’re family or just your friends, they deserve to be told you love them. It’s become such a lost art to tell your friends that you love them and I’m not sure why. We love to feel appreciated and liked, it’s human nature, yet somehow we’ve managed to stray from telling the most important people in our lives that they are, in fact, important. You don’t have to do it that often, you don’t have to be too wordy or cliché, all you have to be is sincere.

Lizzy Aber
Teen Blogger, Girls With Confidence

The Day I Decided My Daughter Will Not Choose Her Own Friends
Welcome to our Guest Blogger- Leslie Blanchard. Read more about Leslie at the bottom of her blog. Take time to read this one...well worth it!

I will never forget the day my daughter told me that Bethany, a girl in her 4th grade class, was annoying her. “What is she doing to you?” I questioned, instinctively protective. “She’s following me around on the playground and sitting by me at lunch!” she quipped, as if that would sum things right up and get me squarely on her side of the matter. “You mean she’s trying to be friends with you?” I asked incredulously.

I realized immediately that I had a problem on my hands. I was raising my own worst nightmare. Smack dab in the middle of my brood of five kids, was a charismatic, sassy, leggy, blonde, dance-y, athletic girl oozing confidence … and apparently annoyance, directed toward another little girl that wasn’t lucky enough to be her. Inconveniently for my daughter, her own mother WAS Bethany in grade school. Freckled of face and frizzy of hair, I was an Army brat, always the new girl clamoring for a friend, drawn to the natural confidence of girls like my daughter. This conversation found me vacillating between heartache and fury, but one thing I knew for sure: Mama was about to put her money where her mouth had been all these years.

The battle of two very strong wills ensued at my home the next morning. It wasn’t pretty, but I prevailed. My daughter attended a private Catholic grade school, where on any given day, she and a handful of her cohorts ruled the roost. One quick phone call to Bethany’s mother that same evening confirmed my worst fears. My daughter and her posse were using everything short of a can of “Cling Free” to rid themselves of the annoying Bethany.

I’m sure there are parents out there who will say I overreacted. But, I firmly believe we’ve got to start to address our country’s bullying epidemic right at the heart; by re-defining bullying at its very core. To me, the rejection and complete lack of interest my daughter and her “clique” displayed toward Bethany was the beginning of a subtle type of bullying. It is true (confirmed to me by Bethany’s mom and teachers), that there was no overt unkindness or name-calling, etc., just rejection; a complete lack of interest in someone they wrongly concluded had nothing to offer them. After experiencing childhood myself and raising five of my own, I’ve been on every side of the bullying social dynamic, and I am convinced this is where it begins. A casual assessment and quick dismissal of an outsider.

We would serve our children well, in my opinion, if we had a frank conversation with them about what motivates human beings to accept and reject others. It happens at every age and stage of life, race, creed and religion. It has its roots in our own fears of rejection and lack of confidence. Everyone is jockeying for their own spot on the Social Food Chain. I feel like I have experienced demonstrable success with my children by tabling this dynamic right out in the open. Parents need to call it by name, speak it out loud, shine a bright light in its ugly face. We need to admit to our children that we too experience this, even as adults. Of course it’s tempting to ‘curry favor’ and ‘suck-up’ to the individual a rung of two above you on the Social Ladder, but every single human being deserves our attention and utmost respect. In spite of this, we have to constantly remind our children and ourselves that everyone can bring unexpected and unanticipated value to our lives. But we have to let them.

It’s simply not enough to instruct your children to “Be Nice!” You’ve got to be more specific than that. Kids think if they aren’t being outright unkind, they are being nice. We know better. Connect the ugly dots. Explain the social survival instinct that’s often motivating and guiding their impulses. I promise you, they can handle it. They already see it on some level anyway. They just need YOU to give it a voice and re-direction.

As for my girl, I instructed her that she was going to invest some time and energy getting to know Bethany. I assigned her to come home from school the next day and report three cool things she found out about Bethany, that she didn’t previously know. My strong-willed child dug in. She did not want to do that. I dug in deeper. I refused to drive her to school the next morning, until she agreed. It seemed that, at least until now, I had the car keys and the power. Her resistance gave us time to have the long overdue conversation. I walked her through my “ATM Machine Analogy.” I explained to her that she had social bank to spare. She could easily make a withdrawal on behalf of this little girl, risking very little.

“Let’s invest!” I enthused and encouraged. She got dressed reluctantly and I drove her to school. She had a good day—what was left of it. But, she was still buggy with me when I picked her up, telling me that her friends’ mothers “stay out of such matters” and let their daughters “choose their own friends!” (Such wise women.) And then she told me three cool things about Bethany that she didn’t previously know.

I checked back in with Bethany’s mother by phone two weeks later. It’s called follow through. (I don’t think enough of us are doing that. We “helicopter” over our kids’ wardrobes, nutrition, sleep schedules, hygiene, science fair projects and then pride ourselves on how “hands off” we are on social issues. If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to say, “Seriously? You micro-manage the literal crap out of every thing your child does from his gluten intake to his soccer cleats, but THIS you stay out of?” No wonder there’s zero accountability and a bullying culture!) Bethany’s mother assured me that she had been welcomed into the fold of friendship and was doing well.

Bethany’s family moved to another state a few years later. My daughter cried when they parted ways. They still keep in touch through all their social media channels. She was and is a really cool girl, with a lot to offer her peers. But the real value was to my daughter, obviously. She gained so much through that experience. She is now a 20-year-old college sophomore, with a widely diverse group of friends. She is kind, inclusive and open to all types of people. When she was malleable, impressionable and mine to guide:

—She learned her initial instinct about people isn’t always correctly motivated.

—She learned you can be friends with the least likely people; the best friendships aren’t people that are your “type!” In the world of friendship, contrast is a plus.

—She learned that there are times, within a given social framework, that you are in a position to make a withdrawal on behalf of someone else. Be generous, invest! It pays dividends.

But, most importantly, she learned that, while I may not be overly-interested in what she gets on her Science Fair project, couldn’t care less if she’s Lactose Intolerant or whether her long blonde hair is snarled, she’s going to damn well treat people right.

Parents—your kids are going to eventually develop the good sense to wear a jacket and eat vegetables, invest your energy in how they interact within society. If we insist on being the hovering Helicopter Parent Generation, let’s at least hover over the right areas.

~ Leslie Blanchard, Blogger

Brilliant words by Leslie Blanchard. We came across this article on Facebook and loved it. We connected with Leslie to request her approval to share it on our blog and she was excited we wanted to share this with our parents. We hope you enjoyed it and please feel free to share with your friends.

About the Author: Leslie Blanchard is a wife and mother of five, who tattles on her husband, her own mother and her children by chronicling the insane and mundane in all of their lives in a fairly public way. Collectively, her family more or less rues the day they purchased her an iPad. Now that she’s officially a blogger, Leslie lies in the tub, neglecting her considerable responsibilities and muses about marriage, motherhood, friendship and other matters of life outside the bubbles. Read more from Leslie on her blog A Ginger Snapped: Facing the Music of Marriage & Motherhood- https://agingersnapped.com/.

We’re All Relevant
You’re running late, you spill your $5 iced coffee and you’re stuck in traffic. God, this day is gonna be terrible, now you’re in a bad mood. I’ve been alive for 15 years, 185 months, 806 weeks, or 5,647 days. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. So yeah in retrospect, my impact on Earth thus far has been minor, to say the least. The average human lifespan is 71 years. That’s one thousand seven hundred seventy five hundred billionths of the Earth’s lifespan. And you’re having one bad day? One day of all of that? Every second your body is producing 25 million new cells. An adult human body has 7 octillion atoms. That's a 7 with 48 zeros. Our never ending universe has hundreds of billions of known galaxies, each of which have billions of stars inside of those. Even the sun rays hitting us right now, are 30,000 years old. But yeah, you went to grab breakfast at Chick fil A and now you’re stuck in a traffic jam on Dale Mabry, it’s the end of the world. Your world, at least.

I know it sounds like I'm having an existential crisis, but trust me I’m not. I’m just saying, that whenever I’m inconvenienced or annoyed, I just kinda think it’s important to remember all the amazing, astounding things that are happening around us. Why don’t we just start small right now. You were late to school. Sure, but did you know that at one point for about thirty minutes, you, like your individual self was one single cell. All of us actually, every single person has at one point been one singular cell. Let’s branch out a bit. The closest galaxy to us is 2.5 million light years away, and if it was just a little bit brighter we would be able to see it, and it would look six times larger than our full moon. I mean it takes 230 million years for our solar system to orbit around our own galaxy.

In your life you are going to do so many things, go so many places, meet so many people. Even though compared to this big mess that we call the cosmic web, we’re irrelevant. Sorry that’s the truth, but that shouldn’t matter to us. We should be spontaneous, show emotion, build relationships, communicate because that’s our lives we’re talking about here! We only get to do it once. In today’s day and age everyone is so mad and everyone is so judgmental but we don’t have to be this way. In comparison, yeah, we’re a teeny tiny spec in this universe but we don’t have to live like that. We can make our lives worth living all by ourselves, we are capable of living without regrets if we want, we just have to want to.

We all have dreams, plans, ideas for our future. Your crappy morning won’t matter, that kid in your class pissing you off won’t matter, that embarrassing moment when you tripped up the stairs or when you send that ugly snapchat to the wrong person won’t matter when it’s all said and done. One day you’re going to wake up and we’re gonna be making pancakes with the love of our life, publishing your first book, starring in a movie or whatever. No matter what what you want out of life you can and will get there. We only have so much time on this earth to achieve those dreams, plans, and ideas, and you won’t get them done with a pessimistic mindset. One day those dreams and plans become reality, and those terrible, rough, god awful days just won’t matter.

So make your life worth living. Make it something that when you look back on it you can honestly say you loved it. Don’t be paralyzed by fear. Living life is the longest thing we ever do, take that chance, do what makes you happy, make it important because it is.

Lizzy Aber
Teen Blogger, Girls With Confidence

Why RELAY FOR LIFE is so important by Sarah Kosid

Some of you might know me, and a lot of you probably know my story, but if you don’t, my name is Sarah Kosid and almost five years ago I lost my best friend to cancer. My dad was 46 when he passed away from esophageal cancer. He had been battling the disease for two years when he defeated it and was taken to heaven. You see, my family doesn’t believe that cancer beat my dad because he fought too hard for that to happen. We like to think he’s the real winner. Not only is he no longer suffering, but we know that now he is with our sweet Jesus. As a former Marine, we also know that he is guarding the gates of heaven and waiting to greet each and every one of us on the day we get there.

When I was a junior in high school, I was blessed with the opportunity to be the team captain of my Relay for Life team. It was a lot more work than I had expected, nor was I ready for what was in store. I knew what I was doing was for the right cause, but trying to balance that and school was a lot to handle. When the event started I couldn’t help but be reminded of how amazing the support group is behind cancer. I saw it in my friends, but I also saw it in strangers. There were so many people here who had been affected by cancer yet they weren’t sad, they were rejoicing over their life. I think that’s why they call it Relay for LIFE.

That night I told my story to a crowd of people whom I mostly didn’t know. I was a little junior in high school and wasn’t as prepared for public speaking as I would have liked to have been. My mom (being the crier that she is) hugged me with tears in her eyes before I went in front of everyone. When I began talking, I was comforted by reminding myself that my dad had a front row seat to this night. He was proud of me and he loved me! I stood up there and blabbered about cancer and how it sucked for about two minutes before I was overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry. You don’t really think about cancer unless you have to, and in that moment I was doing a lot of thinking about cancer. My friends immediately jumped up and hugged me and supported me while I continued to try to come up with words in between sobs. When I finished talking, I couldn’t believe the amount of strangers who came up to me and hugged me and told me how inspiring I was. Here’s the mistake though: I wasn’t inspiring. My story might have been… but the real inspiration here is my dad. He’s the one that fought cancer. He’s the one that played in a hockey tournament after chemotherapy. He’s the one that bought a new bicycle while he was sick because he knew he wasn’t done fighting and was going to ride again. He’s the one that gave his best and biggest hugs, even when it hurt him to do it. So no, the inspiring one was not me. It was him.

I think cancer patients are so amazing. I think we should celebrate them every chance we get: their victories, their memories, and their lives. Relay for Life was one of my favorite times to celebrate. Please consider joining our Girls With Confidence Relay Team. It will be a wonderful and positive experience for you and your daughter. Click on this link to learn more-

Sarah Kosid
Social Media Intern
Girls With Confidence

How Girls With Confidence got started?

In our last post, we introduced you to our new blog and what we hoped to accomplish by having this blog. Now in our 2nd post, I thought it would be helpful to share more about myself and why I started Girls With Confidence. And answer the most asked questions I get “Why do you work with girls when you don’t have a daughter yourself?”

The seed was planted back in 2005 when I was at a networking event and remember hearing the speaker say “We all have things that happen in our lives that impact us- some positive and some negative. When it’s negative…find a way to change it into a positive.” She shared several ways to do that and one example she gave was to volunteer and give back. It was a pretty simple statement but one that really impacted me. I didn’t have to think long and hard about what I would do with the “negative” that had happened to me.

I grew up in an upscale suburb outside Detroit and I seemed to have it all in terms of a teenage outlook. I was outgoing, friendly and social. I was popular and had a ton of friends. I didn’t have a hard time getting dates or boyfriends and I was homecoming princess. But I had a big secret that I kept inside for many years. I was suffering from an eating disorder. No one knew, not my Mom and Dad, my friends, not even my closest friend Wendy. And until I was in college and was really sick, I decided to open up to a friend who encouraged me to get help. Once I started getting therapy, I found the courage to open up to my family. They did their best to be supportive and help me. I remember my parents telling me that if I continued with that behavior, that I would end up killing myself. You would think that would be enough to stop but it wasn’t. And years continued with the eating disorder…telling people that I was better when I wasn’t. Most people do not understand why anyone would do this to themselves. Typically it’s due to some underlying causes, mine was sexual abuse by some neighborhood kids when I was 9 years old. And because of that experience I endured guilt, lack of trust and extreme self-loathing and insecurity.

And it wasn’t until I met my husband that I truly got the help I needed. Years of therapy and finally getting to the root cause. I got better. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I still struggle. It’s similar to being an alcoholic I think. It’s a daily challenge but I am healthy now and I believe in the end, I am blessed. I know that sounds hard to believe. Yes, I had some bad things happen to me but I did take that negative and turned it into a positive. And that positive is Girls With Confidence.

I love what I do. I feel that God has given me this opportunity to help girls feel good about who they are. I AM blessed that I get to work with young girls and feel that our programs really impact girls to be more confident about themselves, their friendships and their life. In all our workshops and events we hope girls learn that perfection does not exist. We want them to have strong relationships with their parents, so when they need help, they can go to them for support. We want girls to learn to communicate and share what’s on their mind. And we want girls to love and accept themselves no matter what negative experiences they’ve had happen. Our goal at Girls With Confidence is to empower girls with knowledge and skills to be confident in themselves and know that they can be anything they set out to be.

Nancy Lemon
Founder and President, Girls With Confidence

Our First Blog Post!

Finally our first blog post. Thanks for your patience in launching our new blog. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but felt intimidated by it. I could go on and on about why I “feared” starting a blog but I’ll focus on the positive- “I’m here and I’m ready.”

As many of you know, a blog is a way to share experiences, observations and opinions in an informal and conversational way. So our blog will do just that. I’m excited to use this blog to SHARE, EDUCATE and INSPIRE parents of girls.

We plan to EDUCATE parents on what goes on in our workshops and share in an anonymous way, all the interesting and funny things girls talk about in our classes. I promise we’ll have some serious stuff to share but also some down right hilarious stories. I could write a book with all the funny things they say and also the most profound and impactful comments they share. One day...

We will also use this blog to SHARE resources with parents and provide strategies, tips and advise on raising confident daughters. From time to time, we will invite guests to share their expertise on various relevant topics girls are dealing with.

Most importantly we hope to INSPIRE you. Maybe to be a better Mom, Wife, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Co-Worker, etc. As you all know, no one is perfect and I hope through this blog, we can encourage Moms to believe more in themselves, trust their decisions and love the kind of person and parent they are. We want you to accept and embrace your imperfections and to not constantly focus on trying to change them. Young girls need to learn early in life the importance of loving and accepting themselves from the inside out and they can achieve this if they see their Moms can do the same.

I promise our blog posts will be honest, transparent, real and helpful. I read this quote the other day and feel is so true, “Confidence is not a destination, it’s a journey.” In all our workshops and events we hope to instill a little more knowledge and empower girls to be more self assured, contributing to their journey.

Our next post will share more about our vision and goals for Girls With Confidence and I’ll also answer the most asked question I get “Why do you work with girls when I don't have a daughter”? Can't wait to connect again soon. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Nancy Lemon
Founder and President, Girls With Confidence