It seems like one of those buzz words we hear and see a lot in social media and inspirational quotes. Maybe it is, but it also goes a lot deeper than that. We all have battles we fight internally and today is an especially hard day, after a hard weekend.
Depression and anxiety are not visible (to most people) and grief or pain is often hidden behind the smile you pass on the street. Disappointment is yet another invisible struggle and no one is immune to the sting of rejection when we get right down to it. These are battles for so many people, including me.
So yes, I declare that I am a WARRIOR today. I keep getting up and fighting the battle and pushing forward. I’m pushing past the challenges, past the hurt, the grief, and the anxiety. It doesn’t look pretty and that’s ok. God is my refuge and He provides strength when I am weak.
Support is vital to helping yourself and helping others overcome their battles. Be kind, encourage one another, and remember that others are warriors too, fighting a battle we may not be able to see. Community and friendship are powerful and no one is ever alone in their struggle.

Back to the Basics

Today has me reflecting on the last few months of this ride. I’ve been thinking on the journey that has been building community and offering support and connection for women, via our gatherings.

I realize I’ve made it complicated by trying to be ALL the things for ALL the people. I’ve put too much time into areas that didn’t really matter or reflect my heart. I’ve spent too little time in areas that matter more, those things that are the heart behind Fill Up Your Cup, like serving and just showing up for other women over a cup of coffee or through a thoughtful note.

So, I’m here, going back to the basics – back to the heart of community and connection. I wished that a community like this existed about 9 months ago, so I created it. It has been beautiful to see women come together and build relationships. It has been beautiful to see women lift each other up. THAT is what Fill Up Your Cup is about… it’s not what happens inside of four walls once a month. It’s about the women who band together in community and make each other better, no matter where they are.

So, while summer has not boasted many gatherings, it has been a season of grace and rest. The doors are always open, the table always has a seat for YOU. I’m always here to cheer you on, support you, and help you connect with other amazing women, just like you. We are better together, friends. Are you up for continuing the journey with me?

PC 📸: The MOMent

Feature Friday: Sweet Beets Floral

Sam Schlicker, Owner of Sweet Beets Floral

“There’s something about taking a step – you don’t have to be ready to run, it’s okay if you don’t know the step after that… it’s one step. I really view my life and business as taking one step at a time.”

Sam Schlicker is a fun, outgoing and driven small business owner in Michigan’s beloved Great Lakes Bay region. She recently opened Sweet Beets Floral in January 2019 and is taking off to new heights due to her amazing talent and experience in creating unique and thoughtful floral designs. Also the wife of a farmer, Sam teams up with her husband, Josh, to create a life they love and live out their dreams, both on the farm and in the flower studio.

I had the privilege of meeting Sam at our January social premier for Fill Up Your Cup and it’s clear that she has a passion for helping others celebrate life’s big moments by creating memorable details. Kind and authentic in nature, Sam makes it easy to spark conversation and highly values her clients’ dreams and visions. Sam shares with us a little of the background and heart behind what got her started in the floral design business, some valuable lessons learned and great advice she has been given along the way.

Q: What services does Sweet Beets Floral offer?

Sam: “Sweet Beets Floral is a wedding and event floral design business that commits to providing heartfelt floral designs inspired by nature for your life’s biggest celebrations. Using real flowers, I design bridal bouquets, bridesmaid bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres, corsages, arbors, and so much more. I use nature as an inspiration and expand my clients color palettes to create romantic floral designs. I also flower for baby showers and bridal showers!”

Q: What motivated you to start a floral design business?

Sam: “Here’s a cliff notes version: My hearts desire to become a floral designer changed my entire life. I wholeheartedly believe I was placed on this earth to be a floral designer and run a business. I feel called to do it – and sharing my story along the way is a piece of my purpose here.”

Q: Who has been an important mentor or influence in starting your business?

Sam: “Oh my! There are a lot of people in my life who have been cheering me on from the very beginning of this journey! My husband Josh has been a big part of that. It’s important to believe in yourself, but to have someone remind you when things get tough that you can do anything is a game changer!”

Q: How have you positively impacted your community since opening Sweet Beets?

Sam: “A big piece of my heart and mission behind Sweet Beets Floral is to inspire and encourage others to build a life they love. Following your dreams is such a joy in life, and I hope sharing bits of my dreams has motivated others to do the same.”

Q: What is your favorite thing about the floral design business?

Sam: “Client meetings! There is nothing better than chatting with a bride about her wedding flowers! It really is a fun conversation and I am truly just as excited as my clients for their wedding day. I work hard to ensure their vision comes true for one of their life’s biggest celebrations! And of course – making their bridal bouquet knowing they’re going to carry it down the aisle to their best friend is an added bonus!”

Q: What is a challenge you’ve faced in running your business and how did you handle it?

Sam: “I believe in being honest, and honestly – hearing that a bride went with another floral vendor was tough in the beginning. Sometimes it’s hard to close a sale, and other times my heart knew it just wasn’t a good fit. When I changed my mindset to think “each client I have, is meant to be my client” is when my 2019 and 2020 lineup turned into more than I could’ve ever hoped for!”

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Sam: “I attended a workshop last year, and I’ll never forget the host saying “When it feels right, just take a step.” There’s something about taking a step – you don’t have to be ready to run, it’s okay if you don’t know the step after that… it’s one step. I really view my life and business as taking one step at a time.”

Q: What encouragement can you offer to another woman who’s pursuing a dream in business or another passion?

Sam: “Be true to who you are! I think too many of us often hide our light and our talents because of fear. When you step out and show up as you are you will notice a tremendous difference!! And definitely simplify your goals – starting a business is NO JOKE so break down your goals into simple tasks. It will help you overcome any fears and you’ll find you have more momentum! Oh, and don’t be scared to ask questions or reach out to people you can learn from!”

Q: What is your favorite inspirational or motivational quote?

Sam: “No one is you and that is your power” – Unknown.

“It’s really important to remind ourselves that we all are created differently and have a grand variety of talents and skill sets that make us each unique.”

If you are interested in connecting with Sam, you can find her on Facebook and Instagram by searching @sweetbeetsfloral. If you’d simply like to chat, or find yourself interested in starting a small business, or would like to collaborate in any way, please reach out via email: sweetbeetsfloral@gmail.com.

Thank you Sam, for sharing your heart and inspiring all of us to pursue more of our talents and passions. We cannot wait to see the amazing things you’ll continue to do in your business and in the surrounding communities.

Feature Friday!

Q & A with Sarah Nelson, RYT – Yoga with Sarah Nelson

as shared with Jaime Krueger, Founder, Fill Up Your Cup

“For too long, I let my fear of failure and not being good enough hold me back from pursuing my dreams and living a more fulfilled life. I’ve learned that being brave and confident doesn’t mean having no fear or being perfect at something, it’s acknowledging that the fear is there or that you’re not perfect, and making the choice to do the thing anyway with your best effort.”

-Sarah Nelson, RYT

For the first edition of ‘Feature Friday’ in the Fill Up Your Cup community, Sarah Nelson shares with us her passion for Forrest Yoga and how it has shaped her business and her life. While she has only been in business since September 2016, she has been practicing yoga much longer. I had the pleasure of taking a class with Sarah recently and there is no mistaking she has found her calling, and I think you’ll find her just as inspiring as I do! Fun fact: she is the ONLY registered Forrest Yoga teacher in Michigan! Here’s a peek into Sarah’s world and the amazing gifts and talents she offers to our local communities…

Q: What services do you provide?

Sarah: “I am a certified Forrest Yoga and trauma-informed yoga teacher, and I provide yoga instruction in many forms: public studio classes, private 1-on-1 sessions, private group sessions, and on-site corporate classes.”

Q: What motivated you to start your business?

Sarah: “It’s no exaggeration to say that yoga completely changed my life. It helped me evolve from feeling lost, disconnected, and unhappy to feeling more alive and connected to myself (mind, body, and spirit!) with more clarity in my life purpose than I ever have before. I still learn and grow every single time I step on my mat. It’s so much more than the postures; it’s an ongoing journey toward becoming my best self that’s exciting and fun – and definitely hard work. I never really planned to become a yoga teacher, but once I recognized all the magic that was happening in my own life, I knew I had to go to teacher training so that I could not only uplevel my own internal work, but learn how to share this amazing practice with others. After 700+ hours (and counting) of teaching yoga, I know in my heart I’m on the right path.”

Q: Did you have a mentor or someone who encouraged you to start teaching?

Sarah: “I have had so many mentors and influences on this path. The yoga teacher that introduced me to Forrest Yoga in Pittsburgh, Leigh Ann Handel Cutright, who guided my practice through the early years of my personal evolution and encouraged me to take the leap to go to teacher training with Ana Forrest in 2016. Keri Kenney, owner of Alignment 8 Yoga & Cycle, was the first one to take a chance on me as a brand new teacher, and her abundant unconditional support, trust, and belief in my abilities has been incredibly valuable to me as I’ve further branched out on my own. Lastly, I have two wonderful sounding boards for business decisions and advice on difficult teaching situations: my friend and fellow yoga teacher Becca Cutright, and my husband Chris.”

Q: How have you positively impacted your community as a result of your teaching?

Sarah: “I’ve guided countless people in my classes to learn how to not only breathe and move mindfully, but to become wiser, kinder, stronger, more connected and intuitive versions of themselves. My goal is to make my classes welcoming and accessible for everyone regardless of experience, age, gender, race, size, ability, injury, or personal history so that everyone feels seen and cared for during their practice, whether it’s one person or twenty. Outside of my regular classes, I’ve also had the opportunity to give back to the wider community in a few different ways. I have linked my passion for animal welfare to my work by launching annual Cats on Yoga Mats events in Midland. Last summer, I also had the chance to volunteer to teach a couple of outdoor yoga classes for the inaugural Out-land-ish festival. I am also in the process of initiating a future volunteer project working directly with a local organization with the goal of bringing yoga to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity or means to access it.”

Q: What is your favorite part about teaching?

Sarah: “We have a pledge we each take as Forrest Yoga teachers: to do our part in “mending the hoop of the people”, and that’s what it’s all about for me. It makes me feel proud to do what I do when I observe my students growing stronger and more confident, making breakthroughs, learning how to heal themselves – physically and otherwise – and feeling more at home in their own bodies and minds. When my students share the impact that their yoga practice has made in their lives, I feel in alignment with that pledge as well as my life purpose.”

Q: What is a challenge you’ve encountered in your business and how did you overcome it?

Sarah: “It has certainly been a challenge to be the only person in Michigan who teaches the style of yoga that I do, not only because it means I’m a one-woman force but also because it means I don’t have other Forrest teachers here to turn to for my own practice. I do a lot of independent work and self-study, and fielding plenty of questions like “Is your class held in the woods? Isn’t it too cold?” (spoiler alert: nope! Forrest Yoga has nothing to do with trees!), and getting people past their uncertainty of trying something new and unfamiliar. It takes a lot of bravery to get out of your comfort zone, and for a lot of people taking the first step in rolling out that yoga mat is huge! To overcome that potential for fear, I try to get the word out every chance I get on what Forrest Yoga is all about, and I strive to make my classes a safe and empowering space for people to explore that unknown territory – whether it’s just a new style of yoga for them or their first time ever practicing – and see for themselves if my class is the right fit for them.”

Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given in business or in life?

Sarah: “To stop making decisions based on fear and to make lots of mistakes! For too long, I let my fear of failure and not being good enough hold me back from pursuing my dreams and living a more fulfilled life. I’ve learned that being brave and confident doesn’t mean having no fear or being perfect at something, it’s acknowledging that the fear is there or that you’re not perfect, and making the choice to do the thing anyway with your best effort. Being willing to make lots of mistakes is essential in business and in life, because it’s not failure, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. No mud, no lotus – or as my teacher Ana says: “take your s#*% and turn it into fertilizer!” 🙂

Q: What encouragement would you offer a woman who is pursuing a dream of hers?

Sarah: “Don’t wait until the “right” time or until you feel like what you want to offer is completely “perfect”. That voice inside that says what you know/have/do/are isn’t enough is a liar; you ARE enough, just as you are. Take one step towards your goal, even if it scares you, and then take another and another. You’ll inevitably make plenty of mistakes, and that’s ok! You’ll learn, grow, and become even better in the process. Make NOW the time that you make yourself and your dreams a priority, and let your beautiful unique light shine bright! When you make room in your life and heart for what you truly desire for yourself, and do the work to create and nurture it, the universe will respond in its own time with abundance.”

Q: What is your favorite inspirational or motivational quote?

Sarah: “Learning to ask the question – ‘What part of this can I do?’ – changed my life that day and every day I remember to ask.” – Ana Forrest, from her book, Fierce Medicine. This is a potent tool for when you’re feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed by the voice that says “I can’t”, both on the yoga mat and in your life.

Q: Where can we find more information about your classes and locations?

Sarah: Anyone who is interested in connecting with me on social media can find me on Facebook and Instagram as @sarahnelsonyoga. My full class schedule, descriptions, and booking details can be found at tinyurl.com/sarahnelsonyoga

Thank you Sarah, for being an amazing light and inspiration for the community!

When You’re Assigned a Mountain…

It’s been over two months since I decided to take the leap and launch my own monthly social gathering for local women. It’s been such an incredible journey for me so far. I still cannot believe it is coming to life, a little more each and every day.

It started with feeling a strong personal need for community and social interaction, somewhere in my city. You might be wondering, “Why would she want to do that? That’s what social media is for and it’s easy!” Let me tell you… I asked myself the very same question at first, but I quickly realized that it just wasn’t cutting it. I had been through a difficult personal health journey, IVF, miscarriages, and leaving my mainstream healthcare job to come home and work full-time as a health and wellness coach. My friends had babies and I didn’t. We moved in different directions. I felt very alone through all of it.

On December 19th, 2018, I sat on my couch and cried. I had placed all of my efforts into being an entrepreneur and I had a flexible schedule. I had a great income. I could even be described by some as ‘successful,’ I guess. I cried not because of the ability to work from home and the perks (all of that is awesome). I cried because I didn’t feel like I was bonding with anyone sitting behind a screen, day in and day out. I didn’t feel a genuine connection with anyone and I sure didn’t feel like I was making any lasting friends via social media.

In that moment on the couch, I started thinking and then praying for some direction. Then, I stared down at my new Alex & Ani coffee charm bracelet. That was THE moment. I know you’re probably thinking, “Really? THAT was the BIG moment? Yep. It was. In the midst of my tears and prayers, I was led to creating Fill Up Your Cup.

Looking at that little coffee cup charm reminded me of all the good conversations, dream sessions, and laughs that have happened over coffee in the last few years. Coffee is one of my favorite things and I spend a lot of time in the local coffee shops enjoying the sense of community and belonging that seems to happen there.

I knew I couldn’t be the only one who felt like I was struggling to make real friends in my thirties, so I decided to take a chance and put myself out there, for all to see. I started asking other women to join me for coffee and conversation. Some of them I knew personally, some I didn’t. It was a scary feeling at times to wonder if I’d be rejected or laughed at, but I felt called to this assignment, and I was willing to take the risk.

In less than 30 days, I had over 100 women join the private Facebook community. I had so many positive messages and conversations with women who were thrilled that something like this monthly social gathering was being offered to them. It may not seem like much to some people, but to me, it meant the world. I love to give and serve and this filled my heart with so much joy and gratitude!

Despite Mother Nature’s decision to bring some major winter weather on the day of our first gathering, we made it happen! It doesn’t matter that the roads were terrible and only 10 people could make it or that I had never done this before. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t ‘perfect.’ What matters is that IT HAPPENED.

No matter the weather or my inexperience, it was so fulfilling to see women showing up. It felt so amazing to know that they trusted in me to create a safe space of belonging; and to see them come together in conversation and sharing laughter with each other in a matter of minutes. It was perfectly imperfect and everything I could ask for.

Fill Up Your Cup is coming to life, and it is made of beautiful women who are unique and amazing in every way, from all walks of life. Entrepreneurs, moms, wives, creators, warriors, you name it. We can ALL support, empower, and encourage one another, one connection and one gathering at a time. We are all more alike than we are different and this community is proof.

I believe I was assigned this mountain, to show others it can be moved. I didn’t know the ‘how,’ for getting it done, but I had a desire to fulfill the ‘why’ and I’m learning along the way. Building community and relationships makes my heart beat. I feel so honored to have the opportunity to share this with other women who value that too.