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      News & Press — celebrate

      Let Go And LIVE

      Let Go And LIVE

      Nilaja Montgomery, 2021 Woman of Influence by Colorado Springs Business Journal, is a relationship manager, connecter, and an all-round get-stuff-done kind of gal who says her biggest professional accomplishment is negotiating a 6-figure salary. But her greatest overall accomplishment in life was giving birth to her son, Justice.

       

      "Being a mother has been my greatest lesson, my greatest gift and my greatest challenge," says Nilaja. "But I'm so happy I chose this path." 

      As a self-made woman with an MBA, Nilaja says her guiding star as an adolescent was rising above where she grew up. "I grew up in Gary, Indiana," she says. "My high school's graduation rate at the time was about 75 percent, so every one in four students dropped out. So I aimed to be in the top 20 percent of my class."

       

      Nilaja went on to serve as a medical officer in the Army, serving two deployments to the middle east, and is now writing her memoir to share her experiences with others. She feels called to give a voice to women in the military community, especially those struggling with PTSD. Her goal is to normalize these conversations to raise awareness of service member and veteran mental health needs.

      Today, she continues to give herself permission to embrace her boldness and lives life according to her own rules. After losing close friends overseas, Nilaja knows the value of living in the moment and be grateful for it. These values are ones she hopes to pass down as her legacy to her son. 

       

      "Start," she says. "Try it. Try it on. Press the button. Do it. With your knees shaking, your breath short and your heart pounding, do it anyway. The world's most inspiring people are those living out their passions and going in the direction that feels good to their souls. They are those who encourage others and live in a constant state of courage. They are those who are relentless and never give up, no matter how hard life hits."

      "LIVE speaks to me most," Nilaja says of Maja Arnold's necklaces. "As a veteran, living the life I want and envision are the most important ideas to me. Watching my son figure life out and figuring out life along with my son and my life partner are amazing journeys that I get to navigate. This life is grande and beautiful!"

       

      May is a month that we continue to honor all mothers. Their beautiful and unparalleled bond of love truly makes the world go round.

       

      If you would like to be featured in Maja Arnold's "WOMEN UPLIFTING WOMEN" blog, please contact us at kristin@elisely.com for an editorial inquiry. This blog was created to inspire, uplift and empower women globally to step through adversity to LIVE a KIND & HAPPY life full of HOPE, FAITH & GOD.

      LIVE & Let Go of Fear in 2022

      LIVE & Let Go of Fear in 2022

      Lesley Kilp is the founder and editor of WhatsUpNW.com, a website that features all that is going on in the Pacific Northwest, to include upcoming local events, restaurant and bar openings, and spotlights trailblazers and changermakers in the area. One of her biggest professional accomplishments was covering NASA's recent Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, where she was able to shed light on what it takes to into defending our planet from all that outer space can bring our way.


      As a young woman, what was your “guiding star” as you began to pave your path?
      I would say my parents were definitely my guiding stars. They encouraged my creativity with writing and fostered my love for all things spaceflight. I also had an incredible college professor, Dr. Kaye Bragg, who truly showed me that women can do anything we put our mind to! 

      What are you currently working on and what are your goals for the next year? 
      Right now I'm in the very slow process of writing my first book, a non-fiction memoir of everything I've learned over the years by not backing down from challenges and opportunities. I also have a dream of working in NASA's public affairs office. In the meantime, I'm continuing to grow my website and write about all the amazing people and things to do in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

      What is your biggest piece of advice to other women who are looking to live fearlessly?
      Don't be afraid to pick yourself up when you fall. Knock on the doors until they open. Don't be afraid of the word no, keep trying! You never know when you'll get that yes!

      What do you most want to be remembered for? What is the legacy you wish to leave? 
      I hope people remember that I was never afraid to try something new, never afraid to fall flat on my face and pick myself right back up and learn from my mistakes. I hope people realize we live this current life one time and we have to make the most of every single moment!

       

      What is the one thing that you cherish most in life?
      Internal peace and happiness, because nothing outside of us can give us that.

      What single event has had the greatest impact on your life?
      My Uncle Dana passed away from AIDS-related complications when I was a teenager. I found out on the day he died that he was gay and had asked the family not to tell his nieces and nephews as he feared we wouldn't love him anymore. It has thus far been one of the most devastating things I have ever experienced - not just his death, but his belief I wouldn't love him anymore because of who he loved. I want everyone on this planet to feel loved and cherished, no matter who they love or what they believe. To this day, I wish I could hug him and tell him how amazing he is and was. I don't ever want to make someone feel the way he felt!
       
      If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
      If there was a way to remove all the hate and insecurity from our internal beings, that's the one thing I would want to change!
       
      Who/What inspires you most?
      Anyone that isn't afraid to try something, fail, pick themselves up, keep trying, and talk about it.  One of my favorite quotes is from Robert F. Kennedy, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
       

      Of Maja’s initial necklaces (GOD, FAITH, HOPE, LIVE, KIND and HAPPY), which one speaks to  you most? And why? 
      Kind speaks the most to me as that is how I feel we all should be towards one another. Even saying a simple kind compliment to a stranger can make their day and change lives. 

      As we prepare to move into 2022... setting new goals for the New Year... our wish for you is that you lean in to your heart's desires and welcome new opportunities to chase your dreams. To challenge yourself to reach new heights by stretching in new ways by climbing your own Machu Picchu. To be brave and fearless by taking steps to continually push yourself out into the uncomfortable. To test the limits of your soul. Cheers to you, and all that you will achieve in 2022!

      See you in the New Year!

      If you would like to be featured in Maja Arnold's "WOMEN UPLIFTING WOMEN" blog, please contact us at kristin@elisely.com for an editorial inquiry. This blog was created to inspire, uplift and empower women globally to step through adversity to LIVE a KIND & HAPPY life full of HOPE, FAITH & GOD.

      Lean Into GOD and Community to Carry You Through

      Lean Into GOD and Community to Carry You Through

      After losing her Army Green Beret husband in combat, 2018 Military Spouse of the Year Krista Simpson Anderson found strength and courage to continue raising her two boys by leaning into her faith in GOD and her community.

       

      The weekend she was notified that he had been badly injured from an IED attack, she still showed up to the small spouse group that had hosted by the spouse of her husband's commander. She knew if ever there had been a time she needed to be there, it was then. And those women continued to show up for her.

       

      Today, her mission is to “find a need and fill it.” And so her nonprofit, The Unquiet Professional (TUP), was born out of both gratitude and grief after the death of SSG Michael H. Simpson. Krista says that the support she received from her community inspired her to do more. She now serves surviving families, veterans, and their families by providing healthy and empowering opportunities to heal from the wounds of war.

       

       

       

      She shares that her biggest highlight and success over the last eight years has been impacting thousands of lives through TUP’s focus on mental health, empowerment, and strengthening families.

       

      “We have had our ups and downs, but we have always been able to make a difference in the lives of others, while trusting ‘we are where we are meant to be,’” she says. “I am so proud of the incredible individuals who work so hard to help me carry on Mike’s legacy. I could never do it alone, and I have never had to.”

       

      Krista has since remarried another Green Beret, and believes it is important to offer support to other spouses who have remarried because their journey is one that is unique.

       

      “I am proud of these individuals who have lost their loved ones and had the courage to move forward,” she says. “I know the ray of emotions and challenges that come along with that decision can be difficult. But I also know what a gift it is.”

       

       

      Through her most challenging days, Krista has found that her desire to use the life GOD has chosen for her to make a difference for others is what continues to drive her. Every day she seeks to be the person for someone else that she needed at the beginning of her journey.

       

      “I want to be there for them through their darkness and continue to be there, encouraging them along the way, when the light does finally begin to peek back in,” says Krista.

       

       

      Another driving force for Krista is to maintain the legacy of her late husband that she is passing down to her boys. They were so young when he passed, that she and her husband make a daily vigilant effort to keep his presence in their home. Her oldest son expressed to her at age 4 how much he loves that TUP reminds him of his daddy, because he never wants to forget him.

       

      “I get this amazing opportunity to impact the lives of others while sharing Mike’s life with the world, praying that I can also show my kids what a gift it is to serve others,” she says.

       

      If you would like to be featured in Maja Arnold's "WOMEN UPLIFTING WOMEN" blog, please contact us at kristin@elisely.com for an editorial inquiry. This blog was created to inspire, uplift and empower women globally to step through adversity to LIVE a KIND & HAPPY life full of HOPE, FAITH & GOD.

      Finding HOPE on Memorial Day

      Finding HOPE on Memorial Day

      HOPE is what fills life with promise and light. It fills our souls on days that feel dark, knowing that brighter ones are just around the corner. Much of this HOPE we carry as women comes from being part of a community that is larger than us. Here, at Maja Arnold, we represent a community of inspiring women.

      Women like Shellie Willis, a veteran and advocate to military communities across the country. Shellie's heart shines through in all she does, as she provides HOPE to our female veterans, as she shifts the needle in their lives by providing them with life-changing skills and resources. 

      After 24 years of service in the US Army, Shellie retired a Master Sergeant and shares that starting a new career as a civilian was absolutely daunting for her. She believes that very few veterans have HOPE during their transition out of the military and land their "dream career," start a business, or even decide to continue their education immediately afterwards. 

      Over the last six and half years of working in workforce development with a focus on veteran’s initiatives, she has found that most really don’t have a clue without being given a strong sense of direction and purpose as to what that next move should be. Shellie also discovered that service women didn’t realize they were a highly underrepresented demographic within a demographic.   

      As women, she says they identified with where they served, whether it be as a Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, Marine or Coast Guardsmen, and that their voices and identities were aborted by those roles. She realized immediately after retirement that women spend much of their time serving and suppressing at the same time.

      So, Shellie decided to create a movement and community of HOPE that continues to educate and empower our service women to and through transition, for however long it takes by building a community of connectors in life coaching, lifestyle, branding, health and wellness, financial readiness and more. Service women need to be reminded they are women and that they are amazing, she says. Long after their military service they can define themselves and be empowered to shift into their next phase of life.

      Redefining You Foundation is a community for transitioning service women, women veterans, and military spouses providing them HOPE through access to local, regional and national resources. Being redefined means shifting your thinking and lifestyle to the next phase in life by creating a blueprint that requires activation and accountability, says Shellie.

      For the work Shellie has done to support our women veterans she received the Female Founder Alliance Champion Award in 2019 and currently serves as the Ms. Veteran America 2020 2nd Runner Up. 

      To learn more about Redefining You Foundation click HERE.

      We at Maja Arnold would like to wish a very Happy Memorial Day to our service members, veterans, and their families. To those whose loved one gave the ultimate sacrifice, they will never be forgotten. And to Shellie, thank you for brightening the way by filling our female veterans with HOPE.

       Photo credits: Abby Laguido, founder of Pixel Parlour

       

      If you would like to be featured in Maja Arnold's "WOMEN UPLIFTING WOMEN" blog, please contact us at kristin@elisely.com for an editorial inquiry. This blog was created to inspire, uplift and empower women globally to step through adversity to LIVE a KIND & HAPPY life full of HOPE, FAITH & GOD.

      This Sunday, We Celebrate Moms Around the World

      This Sunday, We Celebrate Moms Around the World

      There's an old saying that goes something like, "you never know what it's like to watch your heart walk around on its own two little feet, until you become a mother."

       

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