M elodee and I have been friends for many years now, though we have never met. I originally left a comment on her personal blog and then she left one on mine and from that moment on we stayed in touch through email, facebook, Instagram, and of course our respective blogs. She is someone that I admire greatly as she has fought for many things including her marriage and her current lifestyle. She now runs two businesses with two children; talk about inspirational!
Name: Mel Bosna
Occupation: Small business owner of two businesses.
My Story Redeemed, PLLC: I work as a clinical social worker two days a week in private practice. I’m passionate about joining young adults and women as they find healing, with specificity in working through issues that stem from trauma, relationship issues, eating disorders, and body image. I believe that healing is completely possible as I have lived both a broken and a redeemed story.
Owner Lulliloo Photography: While I enjoy many different types of photography, newborn portraiture is my specialty. Nothing reveals the wonder of life better than brand NEW life and therefore taking the time to capture all the little bits of newness is my artistic focus. Sessions require patience and teamwork and the outcome is completely worth it! You can see me in action here. I feel honored to have the opportunity to love on the world with my camera, to give back a little bit of the overwhelming beauty my clients share with me, to gaze on joy.
Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):
This varies day to day, since my week is split between my office, my on-location newborn work and my children. I would say that part of my daily survival kit involves the following three things: drinking club soda with mint (it’s my summer drink when it’s hot!), practicing deep breathing throughout both work and home tasks, and texting with my girlfriends throughout the day.
When life feels stressful I repeat a mantra that really helps me re-center: God goes before me, is behind me, is above me, around me. He works in all things, despite all things and will never leave me. I am not alone.
Who are you inspired by, and why?
I’m most inspired by the clients I work with…it takes immeasurable amounts of risk to change. It doesn’t happen all at once, in fact, most steps are so small they can’t be measured. Yet they are brave nonetheless and seeing their lives change and freedom come from brokenness reminds me to keep risking too.
To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply quit?
I feel like the short answer to how I got through it would be a combination of good therapy and good wine, however a more thoughtful response would highlight that practicing mindfulness was foundational to getting through the initial fear of living a different story. I liken it to childbirth—I had two really powerful birthing experiences, however the only way I navigated either one of them was by staying in the moment. As soon as I started wondering how much longer it was going to take, or much more it might hurt, the panic would set in and the pain would actually increase. My doula would remind me that all I had to do was one contraction at a time, and no matter how tired I felt or much labor hurt, I always knew I could do one contraction. That is how I worked through the fear of changing my career and marriage—one contraction at a time. The second I started thinking about everything I was risking was when the pain worsened. However if I could embrace the pain of what I was risking, literally exhaling out the fear then I knew in my core that I could get through that one moment of it. All the little inhales of hope and exhales of fear amounted to a radically different life than the one I had previously been living.
We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?
I’m a recovering workaholic so setting boundaries (professionally, relationally and internally) has been a hard yet instrumental skill I’ve had to hone. (It does not come naturally). Several years ago I was the residential director of a nonprofit, working 60-70hr work weeks, pregnant and miserable for a cause. My marriage took a hit, and it was at that season that I knew, for me, no cause was worth sacrificing my family and heart’s well being for. Having my first child was the catalyst for a lot of reevaluation for me as I was no longer willing to work that much, I wanted a healthy marriage and a healthy heart and so taking a significant step BACKWARDS in my career was actually necessary. I resigned with a seven-week-old infant and for over a year neither my husband nor I had steady employment. That move was not logical to anybody and yet I knew intuitively that it was what I needed to be doing. I invested in my businesses and he found work as well, however we only work as much as we have to right now, as we’d rather be together and with our children. I could work a lot more, but choose not to. In this season we don’t travel much, we don’t buy expensive gifts or have a huge home—we do buy quality cheese though, drink champagne and have time to enjoy it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d love to see my career continue to grow, but only in ways that really motivate and inspire me enough to leave my home! I used to think that was a luxury, something only wealthy people could engage in, yet having been dirt poor that first year of self-employment and working my way into a different season I believe that its more about perspective than opportunities.
What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?
I rely on the reminders list on my i-phone like nobody’s business! I’m not a fan of sticky notes or day planners as they tend to get messy and/or become lost in my house. I also love the standard calendar on my mac and have it synced with my phone for easy organization!
Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life?
I referenced this above—when I had my first child I was working insane hours at a non-profit. Everything in my life was out of balance, and my daughter’s birth was definitively my wake up call. I’ve always lived intentionally however it’s only been in the process of intentionality with my heart and well being that my life has been free!
How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?
I give myself freedom to say ‘no’ and the freedom to change my mind. I feel like living intentionally within my marriage has been one of the most adult steps I’ve ever taken. I do what’s intuitively right for my heart and family now, regardless of whether it pleases or disappoints anybody else. That usually isn’t easy, however having internal boundaries around what matters allows me to let others’ reactions and societal expectations go. It’s my life, the only one I get, and so I better well damn enjoy it in the way that matters to me.
Have your family/friends been supportive?
Overall those closest and healthiest are 110% behind how I’m living whether they understand it or not. There are plenty of other people disappointed that I’m not more available (both professionally and socially) however I’m really finding peace with that. Others’ emotions and expectations are not my property to manage. Accepting that people have a right to how they feel and what they want, without any pressure to do anything in response to it has been liberating! The healthy relationships I have remind me to hope, dream and persevere where it actually matters.
Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?
Yes…Prayer is huge for me! I believe in it, find my footing in it, relax in it—nothing comforts me more than prayer and the safety of my community. My life is messy still—I’m running two small businesses, I have a toddler and an infant, I don’t have a lot of time to spare and I work with a population in my practice who is recovering and yet often deeply in crisis. So prayer and community are where I run to, often. It is the difference between taking on the world (which didn’t work for me) and taking on hope (which always brings life to me).
What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?
YOU matter. You have perfect, whole, absolute, permanent worth. You’ve been determined to be worth creating, worth showing up for, worth sticking around for, worth fighting for and dying for. You have nothing to prove, and it is because you matter that your story matters. So anytime you find yourself living a story that is not the one you want to be living, you CAN change it! You are an adult, and it is your responsibility to take care of your heart and live a good story. It is the very best thing you can offer the world, I promise.
Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?
I follow several people on instagram who inspire me (Natalie Norton, Donald Miller, Lesley Stefanski!)
I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?
We’d like another adventure—perhaps moving to another state, trying on a new subculture. Professionally I’d like to open up a new studio or hone my skills with EMDR. However I’m living a dream right now that I didn’t think was possible, I’m protective of this season and unwilling to sacrifice it.
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