Feature Friday: Lori Gano

Transformed

If there was one word to describe the process of my life this may just be it. I am not quite sure if that might be a poor choice for a life-word. There are perhaps words I would prefer, but “transformed” is something I find acceptable and maybe even appealing. It not only describes where I have journeyed thus far, but it also defines my aim for my future days and years.
Transformed is a beautiful label for my personal walk, my professional ambitions, and my spiritual process of maturing. I have been forever changed by the extravagant love of Christ. There is nothing quite as discouraging as watching someone, anyone, with potential destroy their future because of a past they cannot seem to overcome. I reached a place in my life where my inventory of years consisted of abuse, abandonment, neglect, loneliness, addiction, panic disorder, PTSD, anorexia, and hate…a lot of hate. My body was consumed with more fear than any one being should be able to survive. Those things did not fuel depression for me. They fueled ambition.
I could twist the perception of this post right here, and I could develop this into a story of rising success. I could base it on my need to prove to the world that its mistreatment of me was not going to define me, and let’s be honest, I tried that route. I didn’t know any better. I just knew I wanted to be better, better than my parents, better than the friends I never had, better than the men I let into my life that I had no business being around, and better than the darkness that threatened to consume me everyday. I wanted acceptance to drown out the voice of rejection. I chased the dream of success not realizing that I needed the joy that comes with the process of transformation.
Can I tell you something? God loves us so much in our dirtiest, ugliest, most cringe-worthy places that He would spend His days singing love songs to your heart while He has appointed a perfectly designed future for your purpose, and guess what…it is transforming. God knew I couldn’t handle deep relationships anytime soon. He knew I needed the satisfaction of exercising my love of art, creativity, homes, and working with my hands. He knew I didn’t learn in a classroom, but in the field where I could be messy and a part of the lesson. God gave me the blessing of working in construction. I then became a Licensed General Contractor. I started a residential design/build company. We weren’t always super stable, but we were honest, fair, and skilled. On the outside I was a “self-made” woman who built something out of nothing. In reality I was a woman surrendered to God who was given an opportunity to be loved by Him, and I took it.
Through my passion for transforming homes God began transforming me. Love began to
replace hate. Patience replaced frustration. Hope replaced disappointment. The process of demo and removing what doesn’t need to be there, and then working through issues, adjusting plans, rebuilding, and bringing out the full potential in order to transform a house has a deep parallel to the restoring work God longs to do in our lives. There is no better vantage point than standing outside of a structure with its roof torn off and its walls peeled back. Suddenly there is clarity to see what has been hiding in deep and difficult places. This is His way as well. My goal is never to destroy a home, it is to transform a home into its fullest potential. This is God’s aim in your life, whether you have no roof or walls, if you have no job, no money, no spouse, no child.
If you have walked through tremendous difficulties, are simply weary, or aren’t sure He can be trusted with your hope, I can tell you His aim is never to destroy you. He is exposing, bringing clarity, and rebuilding. He is the master builder and He has an A+ rating.
As much as I wish there were, there is not a tidy finish line. My transforming process happened in the course of many things God allowed me to do. It didn’t happen because of my career; it happened because I surrendered my life to God and through each daily experience He worked on growing His presence and wisdom in my life – no longer leaving room for the darkness that had once consumed me. He transformed me.
God has taken me, used and abused, a mess of my own making, and rebuilt every part of me.He has allowed me to fail miserably and He has placed me on the mountaintop. Even now He is using my surrender, my willingness, paired with my experience to be a voice to others.
As you wrestle through the difficult task of looking at your today or looking anxiously into your future, don’t get caught up in any label except maybe the one that reads transformation. One day at a time surrender yourself, your career, your family to Him and ask Him for the transforming process of the destiny He has for you. Is your hope aiming toward becoming the best version of the you that God knows you to be in your future, or is your hope dangerously affixed to the ambition you cannot seem to let go of? My freedom arrived when I boxed up and handed over my need for success and accepted in exchange a box filled with the unknown future God was asking of me. That box arrives one day at a time.
Lori Gano
Wife & Mom
P.S. I left a little something extra for you! I hope it gets you excited to try new things in your own home. Be on the lookout for my video on The Real Life Woman page!
Licensed General Contractor
Architectural & Interior Designer
Published Author of
How He Loves Us: Revealing the Affections of God
Coming in August 2017
Bible Teacher, Speaker, and Founder of Out of Ashes Ministries, Inc.
If you are in the Knoxville area we would love to have you join us for a new upcoming study of How He Loves Us: Revealing the Affections of God.
This is a unique Bible study open to any
women in the Knoxville area who would like to attend. Find out more by visiting our Facebook page:

Feature Friday: Lisa Heimann

My name is Lisa. I am 30 years old. I am a devoted wife and mother. My husband, Chris, and I have been married 5 years, together for 12 years. Together we have a beautiful daughter Abigail, whom is 10 years old. I am an entrepreneur. I own and operate a successful small jewelry and vinyl business from home.
Though I recently started handcrafting jewelry, I have found a new love with designing and creating custom and pre-made, etched jewelry.  I also design and craft vinyl decals, coffee mugs, t-shirts for men, women, children and much more.  Both jewelry and vinyl have been a big part of my life for the past two years. Vinyl began as a hobby, then turned into a passion. I wanted to stay home, while helping to make ends meet. Although it wasn’t a consistent income, I wanted to continue. I was very nervous at the beginning. I would worry about how I was going to do this and purchase that. I was afraid that I would not be successful. I kept a very persistent, confident attitude. With a strong mind-set, I was able to focus more and from that point on, my business grew tremendously. I have been able to expand and offer more products and services to my customers.  All things come to those who wait and sure enough, my small business now has clientele.
I have learned some valuable lessons in the past two years. Knowing how to separate business and personal life is at the top of that list. That was very challenging at first, but I slowly started to wear myself out. I became unfocused and at times discouraged. I dealt with this for a while before I found a balance. That is ok. There is no time limit on when we find a balance between work and home life. It will come and everything will fall into place. Before you know it, that will be a thing of the past and you will move ahead. Another valuable lesson I have learned is that you need to set a budget. Materials, new equipment, etc. is expensive. I still struggle with this but I was told from another small business owner that the first year is always a loss financially. As I came into my second year, I slowly started to realize that some products were not selling as well as some products and so I then decided to not waste any more time and money.
For anyone wanting to start their  own small business, I say go for it.  Do not worry about everything all at once, take your time.  It’s a slow process and if you feel yourself getting frustrated, simply walk away, take a break and regroup.

Strive for progress not perfection. If you are tempted to worry, fret or obsess ask the Lord to remind you to, pray, trust and let go.  -Liz Curtis Higgs

To check out more of Lisa’s work please visit her page on Facebook.

Feature Friday: Carly Cloer

I’m so excited that Carly Cloer has given us some of her time. In this video she will talk about how she finally found her passion after years of searching for the right opportunity to be in business for herself.

Carly is a wife, mom of two boys, entrepreneur, and resides in Washington State, USA.