It’s been far too long since I’ve shared a Real Women, Real Balance interview with you. So today I’m excited to introduce you to writer, blogger and adorable newlywed Stephanie May Wilson. She is a natural storyteller and a beautiful light in the blogging world. You all know how big I am on finding writers who bring out the best in your thoughts and self-image. Stephanie is just that. She writes in a way that exudes grace, balance and meaning.
Her heart is genuine and her zest for life is contagious. I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie on the topic of balance and being kind…I hope you enjoy!
What do you do for a living?
I’m a full-time writer (I feel like I just won the lottery every time I get to say that!) I work for my husband’s new marketing/branding company, Co-Mission, doing freelance-type writing for several different authors and pastors. It’s a great gig and feels like weightlifting for my writing muscles. It’s been great practice.
When I’m not writing for other people, I’m writing my own blog, The Lipstick Gospel, and working on lots of projects including my brand new book, which comes out on November 10th.
What inspired you to start your blog?
The year after I graduated college, I had the privilege of working as an intern at my college ministry. My main responsibility was leading a “small” group of 27 sorority girls (totally not a small group at all). I loved my year with those girls. I loved getting to sit over steaming mugs of coffee with them and talk about life, working through the hardest parts together.
Because of that year, I started thinking about the difficult times in our lives like a dark tunnel. We don’t know where we’re going, or even if we’re going to make it, and it feels like heaven to break out into the sunshine on the other side.
But after that year, I began to wonder if there wasn’t something better than just making it through. Instead, I wanted to grab a sweater and a sandwich (or anything comforting or helpful), and go back into the tunnel to help the next girl through.
This is what we do for each other when we tell each other our stories—we are entering back into the tunnel and giving the next girl a hand. This is why I started my blog. This is what The Lipstick Gospel is all about.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Life is so much fun these days. I wake up with my new husband, (I accidentally hit him in the face this morning as I was reaching for my alarm clock. I’m still not used to someone being there next to me), and then we drive together to our office space in downtown Nashville. It’s such a cool spot, right in the middle of the city. We’re so lucky to work where we work.
Then I spend my day writing those articles I told you about, and working on all things Lipstick Gospel. It’s fun because I get to do this all with two of our good friends, and with Carl (my husband).
At the end of the day, Carl and I head home and make dinner. He’s a great cook, and I’m learning, and so we make something delicious and fresh, and usually spend the evening relaxing and unwinding (or unpacking our new apartment. Moving takes forever, doesn’t it?).
What do you do when you’re not working?
My favorite thing to do is to explore a new city. It’s fun exploring Nashville, because everything’s still so new. I love finding new coffee shops, great restaurants, and local farmers markets or festivals. Nashville always has something fun going on.
As you know, The Balanced Life is all about empowering women to approach health and fitness with a balanced mindset. How do you handle the pressure as a woman to look or act a certain way?
This is something I have battled throughout my life. Sometimes it’s an easy fight, and sometimes I lose. I do feel pressure to look a certain way, and I have to fight against the temptation to be mean to myself when I fall short.
The best way I’ve been able to approach health and fitness with a balanced mindset is to work on being really nice to myself. I know that eating junk and never working out isn’t kind to myself, and I also know that forcing myself to log long hours at the gym, and restricting everything I eat isn’t nice either.
So that’s where I start. “Kind thoughts, Steph,” I tell myself. I find that the more I love myself, and the more I work on loving myself, the easier it is for me to be healthy—body, mind, and soul.
What does balance mean to you during your current season of life?
In this season of my life, balance means giving myself some grace for not having balance. When life changes, when we get married, or move across the country, or have a baby (I’d imagine) it takes time for us to settle into a new norm. Sometimes normal life just gets crazy and throws everything out of whack too.
Sometimes we don’t get to the gym as much as we’d like, or we need to sleep more than we usually do. This season is one of those times for me, and balance means giving myself grace until I’m able to be more balanced again.
Who/what inspires you to keep living well?
Actually, Robin, YOU inspire me to keep living well! I’m such an all or nothing person. It’s so easy for me to go crazy for seasons and then let everything fall by the wayside. Your encouragement for grace over guilt, and for small changes instead of massive life overhauls is really good for me. You’re a great example!
What’s your best tip for maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the midst of a busy life?
The thing I’ve found that works the best is doing a little bit at a time.
Several months ago I decided I wanted to run a 5K. Now, I’m a TERRIBLE runner—like, maybe the worst ever, so I had to start slow.
I started doing the Couch – 5K app and would do a little bit at a time. When I did it that way, I was able to build on my progress without it taking over my life, and that was sustainable for me.
When it comes to food, again I’m tempted towards extremes, but I’m terrible at sticking to them. So something I try to do is to eat a few more vegetables right here, today, at this meal. And then I try to do it again at the next meal, etc.
Little bits at a time are sustainable for me. But it’s a discipline for me to think that way.
What projects are you working on that you’d like us to know about?
Well, I just finished my very first book, which is still so exciting to say. It’s called The Lipstick Gospel: A story of finding God in heartbreak, the Sistine Chapel, and the perfect cappuccino. It’s going to be available on November 10th, and the link to download it will be available on my blog, TheLipstickGospel.com.
Thank you SO much Stephanie!
I’ll see you all back here on Friday for the next video in the Pilates For Beginners series!
PS – you may also enjoy these past Real Women, Real Balance interviews: Balance In The Music Industry with Rachael Lampa, Approachable Modern Living with Andrea Howe, and Blogging, Pregnancy and Self-Care with Natalie Borton.