I'm so excited to introduce you to Tammy (T.H.)!  You're going to her energetic and encouraging personality, her uplifting writing, and her fun interview answers! Can you tell us a little about yourself? I’m a California-born girl who currently lives on her Texas farm, but as a child, dreamt of traveling to Spain. Instead, I lived and gave birth to my daughter on the Asian island of Okinawa, a place muggier than southern Georgia. I also lived and birthed my oldest son in the quaint village of Bad Windshiem, Germany. With exception, my third son was born in “plain” ol’ Kentucky, however it’s a state with captivating hills and karst terrain.

During my young adult years, I lived as a prodigal running from the church, and essentially from God. But in Killeen, Tx, I dedicated my whole life (and self) to Him. In those days, I jammed out to DC Talk’s, “Into Jesus,” and Rich Mullins,“Awesome God,” and studied a Life Application Bible as big as an encyclopedia.

For eighteen years, I’ve been married to my best friend who makes me laugh and finishes my sentences. Up until 2016, we homeschooled our two boys for seven years, now teenagers (with one having Asperger’s, aka HF Autism). I opened my first blog in 2009 called, If Meadows Speak. I also founded and co-led (with Amy Breitmann) a collaborative blog (now closed but still live) for Christians wounded by church, in a season without community, calledOutside the City Gates. We then co-led an online small group with (in)courage titled, Women Without Church Community.  

I love small, intimate conversations, un-sweet tea, road-tripping with a camera in hand, Mexican food (extra salsa, please!), and my family. I write from my kitchen table with our mini-Aussie, Einstein, underfoot. In addition to the soon-to-be-released book, A God of All Seasons: Walking Toward Mercy, Grace, and Hope, I’ve authored, A Life of Creative Purpose: Embrace Uniqueness-Explore Boldness-Encourage Faith; and Social Media Strategies (Without Losing Your Soul),

Coffee or tea? TEA! But of course.

Exercise or nap? Trick question, there. Exercise because I NEED it. But a nap is too luxurious to pass up.

Cake or pie? Cake, gluten-free if you have it.

High heels or sneakers? High heels with great arch supports! (Also snazzy, comfy sandals are the bomb!).

Vacation or staycation? Vacay, definitely!

Early riser or sleep in? Sleep in. Is that even a question?

Read the book or watch the movie? Watch the movie. I’m a visual person, though I love to read but have less time than I used too.

Dogs or cats? Dogs (‘though we have an outdoor farm cat that is the best-est)

Introvert or extrovert? Ambi-vert. I’m energized by meaningful conversations with people! Afterwards, I come away talking like a chipmunk when I’m telling my hubby about all the wonderful-ness of the get together. But I also NEED to capture and process all that wonderful energy by channeling it through introverted time.

Country living or city girl? I’m in between as a small town girl, for sure. Right now, I live way-out-in-the-boonies country and like our place but prefer “country” that’s closer to our small town and community.

Do you have any hobbies? Um, does writing count?  Add to that, photography and travel.

What are you listening to, reading, or watching that you are loving right now? Cooper’s Treasure (documentary that’s absolutely fascinating!), just read Karin Fendick’s beautiful and poetic book, From Ashes to Glory: A Psalm a Day, and this week, I listened to the hilarious but serious sermon by, Pastor Tim Ross, titled, “Here, We Upset the World!” (from a Gateway Church’s podcast in Southlake, TX).

What are you passionate about? I’m motivated for people to be set free from bondage, as well as being an encouraging voice through difficult spiritual seasons in life (which looks different when raising toddlers versus an empty nester versus teens versus no children, etc). I’m an advocate for identifying God’s goodness, majesty (through His creation), and His gifts within others or ourselves.

What/where are you writing? My website, The Art of Fear Not is mostly a website not a blogsite, since I don’t blog as much anymore. My current focus is on longform like the co-authored book I’m launching with Amy in August, A God of All Seasons.

Are there any other projects or ministries that you are working on/with? I work as a social media specialist and content writer for a local economic company and am involved at my local church. I’ve also been talking to someone about revisiting a book idea we’ve discussed in the past, but that is still in the preliminary stages.

How can we connect with you? (website, social media, events?) Website: http://tammy-h-meyer.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/tammy_h_meyer Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tammy.h.meyer/ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hendricksmeyer/pins/

What is an area that you’d like to grow in? I’m a Berean at heart so I never have enough historical background on scriptures and want to better understand things such as the cultural times of the Bible.

How can we build you up? Typically, because I’m an exhorter, I find it hard to focus on myself and even answer the question. Since I moved most every tbeyear growing up, I’m humbled by the smallest acts of kindness within this community. But if it crosses your mind, pray that I allow the Holy Spirit free reign in my life since I tend to hold back and that I’d allow Him access and control in every nook and cranny of me.

Is there a parting thought you would like to share? Don’t underestimate the power of community and supporting one another through the smallest of acts. And thanks Bobbie for taking the lead in gathering us together!

It has been so much fun getting to know Amy!  This country gal has an absolutely beautiful heart and I love the story that God is weaving throughout her life.  I'm so excited to introduce you to my friend and fellow dirt-road-lover, Amy Breitmann. Can you tell us a little about yourself? I’ve been married to my husband Troy for 24 years and we have two children. Shelby is 19 and just finished her freshman year at college.  Our son Mitchell is 17 and will be a senior next year.  We are transplanted Northerners but have lived in Augusta, GA for more than 20 years.  ( I still don’t like sweet tea or grits...but southern hospitality is unmatched!) I have been in ministry of one kind or another for my entire career, as an entrepreneur and storyteller.  In this season I work from home and travel some with Vi Bella Jewelry.  I love the flexibility of weaving work with family and being at home. I have been a writer for my whole life, it’s my therapy. I own more cowboy boots than is probably necessary. I have a serious thing with leopard print and Tiffany Blue anything. I follow a LOT of livestock feeds on Instagram.  I have a love of horses and cattle and barns. We are members of an amazing church and have deep friendships here in the south.  So very blessed. Coffee or tea? Black coffee and lots of it. Exercise or nap? Yoga, a walk or barre class. Can’t remember the last time I napped! Cake or pie? Not much of a dessert girl. But homemade strawberry rhubarb pie is another story. High heels or sneakers? Boots! Vacation or staycation? Both. I love to travel but there’s no place like home. Early riser or sleep in? Definitely an early riser. Read the book or watch the movie? Read the book. Dogs or cats? We have two dogs and a cat. We would have horses if we had enough land! Introvert or extrovert? Introvert! Country living or city girl? Both. I love NYC and Chicago but dirt roads calm my soul.  I grew up going to my grandparents farm in Iowa so the Midwest will always feel like home.  Our family has a cabin in the mountains of North Georgia so you’ll find me there as often as possible, wearing cowboy boots and staring at the mountains or riding in the jeep with the top down. Do you have any hobbies? I had an interior decorating business for several years. I love creative processes of any kind.  You’ll find me in the kitchen most every day- I’m a chef wanna-be and avid backyard gardener. And I collect antiques and quilts- I hit estate and garage sales whenever possible. Most everything in my home has a story and a former life. What are you listening to, reading, or watching that you are loving right now? I listen to the “On Being” podcasts and my book club is reading a variety of memoirs.  I love a good story. What are you passionate about? I am a 19 year ovarian cancer survivor and have advocated for cancer patients for many years.  I Co-Founded a ministry many years ago called “The Lydia Project” that grew out of our decorating business.  Lydia  now serves women internationally that are facing cancer, with the mission to let them know they are not alone, providing spiritual and financial support. I’m also passionate about decorating, writing, family, and the message “you are beloved.” What/where are you writing? I write on my blog belovedinbluejeans.com.  I was also the Co-Visionary with Tammy Hendricksmeyer on a site called “Outside the City Gates”- storytelling focusing on inclusion and grace, targeted at those who have been hurt by the church.  The site has been stagnant for a couple of years as we closed it to pursue other writing goals. I have been published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and Guideposts Magazine as well as on several online communities. My first book, “A God for All Seasons,” is due to release in August, coauthored by my dear friend Tammy H. Meyer. Here is a preview from the back cover synopsis:
If you were able to recognize God in every hard, sacred season, how might it encourage your faith to grow? This book is for anyone who has found their spiritual life stuck in the icy grip of winter or their faith lumbering to recover from a summer’s break. Through powerful and poignant storytelling, Amy and Tammy guide you on a journey that will you to lift your eyes toward God's ever-abiding presence through each season’s challenge. Discover hidden gifts of comforting grace in darkness by night, and the radiant glow of God’s mercy by day. You will encounter stories of a God who:
  • gives you a new name
  • never forsakes you
  • delivers you
  • redeems you
  • rescues you from the pit
Learn to perceive God's companionship even when you don’t sense His nearness. Even when you barely believe such closeness is true. Unearth, not only a God who created the seasons, but the One who also walks you through them.”
Are there any other projects or ministries that you are working on/with? I work from home and travel some for Vi Bella Jewelry.  We are a job creation ministry creating beautiful jewelry with artisan centers in Haiti and Mexico.  I have been honored to visit our artisans and their communities in Haiti twice over the past several years. It is an honor to work with our Founder and CEO Julie Hulstein and a team of world-changers as a storyteller and social media manager.  (And I get to dabble in fashion- selecting designs and fabrics for upcoming collections) How can we connect with you? (website, social media, events?) Website:  http://belovedinbluejeans.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amy.breitmann Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AmyBreitmann IG:  https://www.instagram.com/abreitmann/ I run social media and marketing for vibellajewelry.com Facebook for ViBella Jewerly:  https://www.facebook.com/ViBellaJewelry/ IG for ViBella Jewerly:  https://www.instagram.com/vibellajewelry/ What is an area that you’d like to grow in? Bravery:  I’m working with a business coach to work on consistent posting on my blog (discipline) and being bold in doing live FB videos and possibly podcasts to compliment the book launch. As most writers, I have a lot of fear that crops up in sharing the message that is on my heart. How can we build you up? Prayer, encouragement, a safe place to “practice” my brave! I was the spokesperson for the non-profit I started for years, but that was my “cancer story”  I’m ready to share a deeper story- about owning being “beloved” and how that plays out. Is there a parting thought you would like to share? Thank you for this opportunity! I love being part of this encouraging, inspiring group of women!
There are so many amazing women who are pouring their lives into serving Jesus and His people. They inspire me and encourage me to keep pressing on in my faith walk. I’m so excited to be able to share some of those women with you here, on the Build a Sister Up Page!  I hope this becomes a place that you return to often to meet new people, to be inspired, to be encouraged, and to encourage others!   Build A Sister Up is a way for us to connect with some amazing women, to get to know them, to learn what they are working on, and to build them up as they serve the Lord.   This month Build A Sister Up is highlighting:  Kristin Schell   About Kristin Schell? Kristin Schell is on a mission to love her neighbors. She put a picnic table in her front yard, painted it turquoise, and began inviting neighbors, friends, and even strangers, to hang out and do life together at The Turquoise Table. A new concept of hospitality unfolded in her neighborhood, and before long The Turquoise Table led to a movement of Front Yard People—ordinary people who long to create community right where they live. Today, there are Turquoise Tables all across America from California to Maine. In nearly all fifty states and in six countries, Turquoise Tables have become a symbol of hospitality, a safe place to sit down and connect over a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea. As founder of the Turquoise Table and Front Yard People movement, Kristin travels the country speaking at conferences and events with an encouraging word on how to open our lives and homes to others. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Tony, and their four children. What is the #frontyardpeople movement at #theturquiosetable and how do we join in? 1.Get a turquoise table Any picnic table will do. My original table came from the local hardware store, and I painted it Nifty Turquoise. Now, we’ve partnered with Tuesday Morning stores, and you can pick up a table painted and ready to go. In Austin, we’ve partnered with ReWork Project, a local nonprofit serving men and women struggling with homelessness.  Our friends at ReWork build amazing handmade Turquoise Tables.
  1. Put it in your front yard
Find a spot in your front yard. No front yard? No problem. Think about where people naturally gather in your community. Rooftops. Community Centers. Church patios. Libraries. Apartment laundry rooms. Neighborhood gardens. The possibilities are endless.
  1. Share the table
Invite a friend or neighbor over for coffee or tea. Keep it simple. Share the concept of the Turquoise Table and ask her to help you organize your first neighborhood gathering. Everything is easier and more fun with a friend!
  1. Share your story
Tell your community about the Turquoise Table. Don’t be shy. Tell your friends and neighbors how you hope to bring people together around your Turquoise Table. Invite them to join you. Then, encourage others to get their own tables and begin a new cycle of community. Share your stories with the Turquoise Table community. Let us know what’s going on at your table! Your stories will encourage others — we are all in this together.  Register your table.  Follow us on social media, and share with our hashtags:  #theturquoisetable  #frontyardpeople   Coffee or tea? Coffee for sure, but I love hot tea and milk too. I may lose my Southern card, but I do not like iced tea! Sweet or unsweetened. Weird, I know.   Exercise or nap? Neither, which is a problem because I need both.   Cake or pie? Cookies, cake, the pie. But not all at once!   High heels or sneakers? Flip flops or chacos. I'm in Austin or Colorado!   Vacation or staycation? Both! My dream right now is to have a long weekend alone with my hubby in our own house! Having 4 kiddos makes that a dream.   Early riser or sleep in? Early riser   Read the book or watch the movie? Both! I'm also a huge Netflix & Amazon prime fan. BBC shows are my fave.   Dogs or cats? No thank you.   Introvert or extrovert? Extrovert!! But as I get older I need my quiet time more.   Country living or city girl? City! But I recharge in the mountains.   Do you have any hobbies? cooking, needlepoint (but I can't see anymore!), fly fishing.   What are you listening to, reading, or watching that you are loving right now? Watching: Amazon Prime! Reading:  Mother Tonge by Leonard Sweet and Tech-Wise by Andy Crouch Shipt: The grocery delivery service!   What are you passionate about? I am passionate about bringing people together at the Turquoise Table   What/where are you writing? I just finished my first book The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard.   About The Turquoise Table book? Are you consumed with a busy life but unsure how to slow down? Do you desire connection within your community and think, “Absolutely, but I don’t have time for that” or “I can’t create that”? What if there was another way through it all, a way to find those moments of peace and to create a time for honest, comfortable connection? What if meeting neighbors and connecting with friends was as simple as showing up and being available? Desperate for a way to slow down and connect, Kristin Schell put an ordinary picnic table in her front yard, painted it turquoise, and began inviting friends and neighbors to join her. Life changed in her community and it can change in yours, too. Alongside personal and heartwarming stories, Kristin gives you: Stress-free ideas for kick-starting your own Turquoise Table, simple recipes to take outside and share with others, stories from people using Turquoise Tables in their neighborhoods, encouragement to overcome barriers that keep you from connecting, and new ways to view hospitality. Today, Turquoise Tables are inviting individuals to connect with each other in nearly all fifty states and seven countries. Ordinary people like you wanting to make a difference right where they live. It’s about finding the community and friendships that are waiting just outside your front door. Here’s the Amazon link:  https://www.amazon.com/Turquoise-Table-Finding-Community-Connection/dp/0718095588/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1488567727&sr=8-1&keywords=the+turquoise+table&linkCode=sl1&tag=theschcaf-20&linkId=da4421dbb085d8d67ce82c628a8ef103   Are there any other projects or ministries that you are working on/with? Yes! Our family is part of a mission team with our partner church in Belize. I'm involved with our church foundation board and women's bible study and Tony (my hubby!) and I help with our kiddos Young Life and D-Groups. There are always kids at our house and I love it!   How can we connect with you? (website, social media, events?) Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/FrontYardPeople Twitter:  https://twitter.com/kristinkschell Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/kristinkschell/   What is an area that you’d like to grow in? Trust. We have 3 teenagers and 1 in elementary.   How can we build you up? Prayer! I've never done this whole book thing!  Also, you can join the Turquoise Table Community on my website or sign up to be a part of my book launch team.   Is there a parting thought you would like to share? I'm grateful to be at this special table. I talk a lot about gather small and love deep. In our social media world it's easy to get caught up in BIG. But I'm tired of going wide, I crave deep. Maybe y'all do too?