Podcast

Episode 14 – Amy Moffett Brown: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

Amy Moffett Brown is the bubbly co-host of the wildly popular Bobby Bones Radio Show that airs out of Nashville, Tennessee. At first blush, Amy looks like she has it all–fun job, happy family, partner in successful non-profits. Amy’s wins in life came from broken places that she turned into good–from her Mom’s difficult battle with cancer, to her burden for the impoverished people of Haiti. Jessica and Amy talk about the bravery it takes to actually make lemonade from lemons when your heart is broken, and how simply “asking” in regards to opportunity is a risk we all need to take more often.

TRANSCRIPT

Intro: Welcome back to the Going Scared Podcast. As I have interviewed brave people over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed a common theme around courage, which I define as simply being able to “get up, and go scared.” It’s this idea of resilience. I can’t think of a friend who’s demonstrated more resilience than Amy Brown. Amy has bravely walked through losing a mom to cancer. She’s bravely walked through infertility, and she’s bravely walked the process of adopting two children from Haiti, which ended up taking several years. Amy has taken all of her grief and heartache and moved it toward a movement of joy; celebrating people who may be also going through a hard time. It’s called Pimpin’ Joy. She’s also started an organization that helps give back towards Haiti called Shop Espwa. We’ll talk about that on today’s episode.

She’s really been able to use her grief and the challenges that she’s faced in order to rise up and bring others along up with her. I enjoy her friendship and this conversation was truly uplifting for me.

Now, if you don’t know Amy, she is the cohost of the Bobby Bones Show, which is iHeart Media’s award winning country radio show broadcasting live from Nashville. The program reaches millions of listeners on nearly 100 stations. Amy brings so much joy to the Bobby Bones Show, and to so many people’s lives. I actually didn’t know how she landed this gig. I asked her first off, how on earth she met Bobby Bones–she actually saw him eating at a Culver’s restaurant in Austin when the show used to air here.

She just walked up to him and asked if she could co-host with him, ya’ll. Amy has got guts. Talk about someone who’s not afraid of asking. We pick up the conversation with how that bold move that led her to her dream job at the Bobby Bones Show. Here’s what she has to say:

 

You Never Know What Will Happen Unless You Just Ask

Amy: So, about a year after that. Bobby asked me to dinner and offered me a job as his co-host, and I couldn’t believe it. I went home and I talked to my mom and I remember thinking “I don’t even know what to do,” because at this point I’ve been at my sales job for two years–was on a great path with them. There was a lot of opportunity for growth. I had just gotten a raise, all kinds of things, and I went home and I googled “what do radio deejays make?” I couldn’t really find any information. Then, I started to think: “Am I really going to and based this decision on, you know, what I make? I mean, I can figure out a way to pay bills–this as an opportunity on a morning show and have so much fun.”

I just remember my mom saying “if you’re ever going to do this–like 24-25 years old is the time to dabble in doing something you never thought you would ever do. Because yeah–I wasn’t attached to anybody. We would figure out a way to make it work. I did have roommates to help out with stuff, so it I took a pay cut. I went in.

I kind of took it thinking I was going to live in Austin forever. And we’ll just see if this radio thing works out. And slowly but surely, we added market by market and we were up to 25, and then we moved to Nashville and it was 40, and and now it’s 108. So, I still like to pretend we’re just talking to one market, because I don’t like to think about that many people listening.

Jessica: That is crazy–I did not know this story at all. Like this is a crazy story.

Amy: Like, had I never said ‘Hi’ to him at Culver’s–and again– there was about a year relationship with us. It was strictly friendship. Nothing. People. That’s a big misconception a–lot of people think we dated, and there was this whole thing, and “surely guys and girls can’t be friends and co-workers, both single and not have something.” Like, everything was platonic and professional, but yeah he, just surprised me with a job offer.

Jessica: I love that. I think it’s such a great example of friendship across gender and professionally and everything else.

 

A Heart For Haiti

OK, so now I’m going to ask you another question that feels like a pivot. I know everything’s going to come together because I don’t know what came first here.

So, you have a deep love of Haiti. You just brought home your kids from Haiti. You do a ton of non-profit work in Haiti. And I have no idea how that began.

Amy: Well, that began when, Haiti was just on my heart. So, I’d already been on the show maybe five years, four or five years at the time that I decided to go to Haiti. So maybe even six. So the show came first, I had gone to Africa and really enjoyed traveling and seeing different parts of the world and trying to just see where we can be used as a show. Different things that we can get involved in. And we do stuff locally in the United States all over too. I don’t like to see the borders when it comes to that, although you would think that that’s just obvious like who cares where you’re helping people. Not to pigeonhole the country community, but we are in country radio and that’s been a weird thing inviting people that are very pro America. And I’m from America. I mean my husband was in the Air Force for 12 years. I love our country, but sometimes…

Jessica: It’s hard for people to hold these tensions and you can. You can love the people in your backyard and you can love people in Africa. That can exist.

“You can love the people in your backyard and you can love people in Africa.” – Jessica Honegger

Jessica:  So, Haiti was on your heart, but how did Haiti get on your heart? Was it the earthquake?

Amy:  The earthquake had happened yes, and I was on a mission committee at Church and there was teams going down and I couldn’t ever make a trip work with a team. And my husband and I were living in North Carolina because he was stationed at Fort Bragg. And it just kept coming into my mind like “I gotta get to Haiti, I want to get to Haiti.” That’s, I guess, what I mean by it was just on my heart. But nothing was ever working out until I learned of a group from Austin that was going, and I basically cold called them. I emailed and said, “Hey, a friend of a friend of a friend’s cousin’s mailman said y’all are going to Haiti.” And it happens here…

Jessica:  I’m seeing a theme here, that you are not afraid to ask for what you want, which is awesome.

 

Pimpin’ Joy and Espwa

Amy: Yeah. So, I just said, “the dates you’re going literally are dates that I am available to go, so if I could tag along…” And then through that, I got involved at the orphanage, and then through that I met various other groups in Haiti. It was just so organic. Networking started to happen and through the show we knew we wanted to do a lot. Obviously, I fell in love immediately and I’ve been so many times. Since I started going in 2012, I’ve been four or five times a year. Again, from Nashville, which is crazy that we had moved here right when my love for Haiti began; after my first trip to Haiti and my heart exploded for those people.

The people there–Nashville has a huge heart for Haiti–and that happened to be where the Bobby Bones Show moved me. It was almost like this perfect little puzzle that God was piecing together. And my Haiti network here is strong, and I love everybody that is involved down there. And from that, we saw various needs where we wanted to get involved and we use Pimpin’ Joy through the show to help with Haiti. Then, after that, decided to take it another level with my friend Mary and started a line called “Espwa” which means “hope” in Haitian creole, which gives back to Haiti. Whereas Pimpin’ Joy gives back to various things, and still goes back to Haiti. But Espwa is all Haiti, in that, anything you get from Espwa goes to Haiti.

 

Finding Joy In Hard Times

Jessica:  Okay, so let’s pause there because sales, to radio personality, to advocate, really. I know that Pimpin’ Joy was birthed out of your mom’s death. So, tell us a little bit more about the story behind Pimpin’ Joy.

Amy: Well, it’s special to me too because she got to see a little bit of it unfold because it started– while she was still living and listeners, I shared her cancer journey on air and they were invested in her story and I was like, "Mom, listeners want to follow along to your day." They would see me post on social and I just remember someone being like, "You need to make your mom a Twitter account or something." And this is when Twitter was bigger than Instagram, in my world. So I created–her theme through cancer was “choosing joy.” That’s all she wanted to do. My sister and I even got joy tattoos on our wrists in our mom’s handwriting while she was still alive. She was just all about…

Anyway, she needed a Twitter handle and “Judy chooses Joy” and anything really obvious like that was all taken. So I jokingly typed in “Judy be Pimpin’ Joy.” And it was available. And so I thought, "You know what, let’s just go with that, it’s available.” We were bored at MD Anderson Hospital sitting in the waiting room, I remember creating the account there and then her doing her first tweets. Then from that, Bobby was like, “we should do #PimpinJoy and have listeners share with us how they’re choosing joy in their life, or how they’re spreading joy to others. Have them hashtag #PimpinJoy so we can follow along on social media.” Then, that’s what they did. From that, it was born.

Then, about two weeks before my mom died, we created our first ever Pimpin’ Joy hat with Mary at the Shop Forward. My mom got to see the prototype, and then the hats were not even available, but Mary made a bunch right after my mom passed away and shipped them to the house for her funeral. So, every single pallbearer and anyone that spoke at the funeral, like men, they wore a Pimpin’ Joy hat. They were black, everything was very fitting. Not that you have to wear black and be dark, but I mean, it just looked good. Like they looked sharp. They were in their black suits with their black Pimpin’ Joy hats–it looked very uniform.

That was something that was really special because it wasn’t planned. Then Mary was really forward thinking, and the hats were not ready, but she just sent them to us. Then, I would say a few weeks after she died, we put the hats up for sale, and we only made a couple thousand because we didn’t know what they would do and all the money was going to go to St Jude’s. Mary thought her website was broken because the hat sold out in less than 60 seconds. That’s when we knew, "Okay wait, maybe we’re onto something." So, she made a couple thousand more and those sold out within 60 seconds. Again, she still thought, "I think my website’s broken. I don’t know." But it wasn’t, it was people were just responding and wanting to wear the joy and spread the joy. Again, all the money goes, 100% goes to the cause, which at that time was cancer related. So, we had chosen St Jude, but Pimpin’ Joy’s a movement. It’s a celebration. It’s dedicated to people that are going through a rough time, but they choose to find the joy in their daily lives, which is what my mom did while she battled cancer.

“Pimpin’ Joy’s a movement. It’s a celebration. It’s dedicated to people that are going through a rough time, but they choose to find the joy in their daily lives, which is what my mom did while she battled cancer.” – Amy Brown

So, it’s really beautiful to see that spread, and since then 1.5 million dollars or more, maybe at this point, has been donated because of Pimpin’ Joy.

 

“Lord, Use This Cancer For Good”

Amy:  So, my mom’s death, watching her battle cancer and go through such a painful death was really, really hard and taxing on our family. Good can come from bad. My mom’s prayer during her third diagnosis, we were at the chapel at MD Anderson and she just said, it was a very selfless prayer. She just said, "Lord, use this cancer for good." She wasn’t saying, "Lord, heal me. Lord save me." Although obviously that’s what she wanted although at that point. I think she had just thrown her hands in the air and she’s like, "Okay, cancer’s back for a third time. Lord, just use this cancer for good."

So, for me, anytime I see someone wearing a Pimpin’ Joy hat or shirt or carrying a tote or wearing a hoodie or whatever–because the line has expanded since then–that’s an answer to my mom’s prayer. She wasn’t the biggest fan of “Pimpin’,” and we’ve debated that even on the show. Because we’ve given money to various, sex trafficking organizations, and we really have been involved, our giving is very diverse–and organically–through different involvement like with my sister and certain groups that are sex trafficking groups, we’ve been able to donate to those groups. We never want credit or take credit for anything, but we put stuff out there, and rightfully so, the groups wanted the money that they’d been like, "Hey, we may not really say that we have a partnership with Pimpin’ Joy." We’re like, "We get it, it’s fine, but we love what you’re doing and you’re making a difference in this world and we want to give to that." So, we understand that sometimes people may not want to be associated with it, and that’s fine. But as long as we in our hearts, we know the roots of it, and I know the meaning of it, and I know how special it is to me and a lot of our listeners that have used it in their own struggles–it’s just too special to change. We’ve had some people hate on us for that, but it’s just, it’s too special. Not changing it.

Jessica: So, tell me a story about your mom that stands out to you, pre-cancer, where you saw this, where it shaped you, it shaped you to be someone. Because Amy, you are just following in your mom’s footsteps. I mean I’m going to cry right now, but you have been through some tough stuff; infertility, the death of your mom—and you have chosen joy.

Amy: Her strength and tenacity has always amazed me and impressed me. Where I am pretty vulnerable and share a lot, she’s strong. I think she could be vulnerable at times, but I will say when my dad left when I was eight years old—I had just turned nine, but whatever. He left, and I saw my mom go from a stay at home mom to a woman that then worked; went to work every single day and worked well. She was a good employee and I know that. Again, you’re going from a life where she did not have to work, to then raising two kids because we lived with her. To then, still showing up, still taking care of the house. She would wake up, and have the house cleaned and vacuumed, and have done her Bible study and prayer every morning before I even woke up.

But that’s the only time she had to herself where she could do that.  I never once saw my mom complain or speak ill of my dad, even though he left her for another woman. I never heard my mom say anything ill about the other woman. I never saw my mom cry. I think that is where I first saw her, the type of woman that she was.

Jessica: You don’t get to thrive through cancer like that or choose joy through cancer all of a sudden, that comes from a lifetime of your mom choosing joy even before cancer.

You have had to really then latch onto that as you have struggled with infertility, and then entered into an adoption process that felt like it took like, an eternity. Four years is a long time, I mean that is a long time.  

 

From Infertility To Adoption

Jessica: I was talking with one of my friends this morning telling her, "Hey I’m about to interview Amy Brown who has gone through infertility and now adoption," and she is going through the exact same thing. She’s struggling with infertility now in the adoption process. And I was like, "What would be helpful for you to hear?" And she was like, "I want you to ask her to share all the things that have been extremely unhelpful for her to hear throughout the years from other people." And I was like that’s a really good because so many of us say stupid things and we don’t even know they’re stupid, and we just need someone to tell us not to say them. So what are some phrases, words, sentiments that we should avoid when walking with a friend through infertility or possibly adoption?

Amy:  Oh gosh. I’m trying to think back to the years where I was really in the infertility side. I mean now I feel like I’m more on the adoption side so I can speak to that right away, which is for five, six. No, we were in the Haiti process for almost five years and then domestically, maybe two years domestically. So I had a seven year adoption span where I had people telling me, "You know when you adopt you’re going to get pregnant." I think somewhere along the way everyone’s heard that, and they don’t really know what to say, so they just say that because. I know, I’m sure somewhere in my life I’m guilty of being like, "You know, I heard this one girl, that right after they adopted, they got pregnant. So, once your body relaxes and you can just not be stressed about it, you’ll get pregnant." Well, that’s another thing that’s in relation to adoption.

But it’s also just, that was when we were trying to get pregnant way before adoption was even on our brain. It was like, "Do you think you’re just focusing too much on it and once you just chill out a little bit it’ll happen?" And I just remember being like, "I feel like I’m pretty chill about it. Do you feel like I’m not being chill about it? I know I cry every month when I start my period and I’m reading books and I’m doing handstands and some weird Jane Fonda move on the bed. But I mean I’m pretty chill.” I don’t really feel like I was ever stressed. But that was something that definitely got annoying. Of course, the one person that says it to you, they’re not trying to be annoying. But then when 10 people say it to you, it just adds up. So, I would say if you’ve got to, if your friend or acquaintance or someone at your church or someone you work with is going through that, don’t try to solve it for them.

“I would say if your friend or acquaintance or someone at your church or someone you work with is going through [infertility], don’t try to solve it for them.” – Amy Brown

There’s nothing you can do to solve their issue. Just be an ear if they need an ear, give them a hug if they need a hug, take them out to get a glass of wine if they’re not pregnant, which clearly, they’re probably not. Go do whatever. Whatever you can be to just be a friend to that someone, not try to give them your two cents. Unless of course you all have very similar stories and you’ve been through the exact same thing and you can actually share some advice, not just some surface comments that you think are going to be comforting–because it’s not going to do anything. You can’t change it or try.

“There’s nothing you can do to solve their issue. Just be an ear if they need an ear, give them a hug if they need a hug.” – Amy Brown

I’m not sharing with you so that you can fix it or anything. A lot of times, sometimes when we’re sharing, we’re just trying to get something off our chest. We’re not necessarily looking for a solution. Then, we’re gonna work through it in our own way. And for my husband and I, it was very difficult because doctors couldn’t even tell us what was wrong. I know it could probably be hard to hear, "Well you’ve got this wrong with you, so this is why. And you have to accept that." But it’s also really hard to hear, "Well, we don’t really know why you’re not getting pregnant, so, you should try this."

So, we tried Clomid, which is as far as we went with fertility treatments. Once Clomid wasn’t working–mainly because I was psychotic on it–which Clomid is a pill that makes your eggs more attractive, if you will, to the sperm. It makes them want to be like, "Hey, come here." But yeah, I just got off that and instantly felt like adoption was more the route we should go with our finances. It’s weird to look at it as some weird transaction, but at the end of the day, fertility treatments are extremely expensive. Adoption is expensive, and you’ve got to make a choice. We knew that we were called to a child that had already been born instead of investing in trying to create something, which nothing against that, by any means. It’s just not where we felt we were going to go.

Jessica: Okay. So, you decided to adopt. And so that was really born out of an infertility story though. Would you say that’s accurate?

Amy:    Oh, a hundred percent. And so Haiti happened organically because we had chosen to go the route of adoption and not do anything fertility wise. Got off Clomid, got off everything.

Still obviously having sex or whatever. But that’s about it. Still not getting pregnant by the way. Once I started going to Haiti and seeing the older children at the orphanage, excuse me, I just could not stop thinking about them. And we were having such a weird experience domestically with babies that I thought I used to pray, "Lord, like I just want to be a mom. I just want to get pregnant, please let this be the month I get pregnant." And you know what, that prayer wasn’t answered. And I had to accept that because he had adoption on the horizon. And I used to be like, "Okay Lord," I remember we were almost matched with this mother in Florida and she was giving birth in a couple of months. And then it didn’t work out. It was a really bizarre thing. But I was like, "Lord, what is the deal? We just want to be parents, we want a baby domestically."

 

Creating a Forever Home

Then it was like these older kids at the orphanage, I could not stop thinking about them. And then my husband went down and met them and we saw the need for older kids and that all the babies were matched but the older kids were not. And that’s when the light bulb sort of went off and we were like, "Oh my goodness, we’re down for adopting older kids," and not everybody’s down for that. And I don’t think everybody should be and it’s fine. And I don’t even know now that I’m as down for it as I thought I was. Real talk. But I do feel like it is exactly what we were supposed to do, but had God answered my prayer when I wanted to get pregnant and had he answered our prayers when we wanted a newborn domestic baby, then we wouldn’t have these two beautiful children from Haiti that are now 10 and seven years old, and they would still be living in…

Jessica:  And tell us about them.

Amy:   Well, so Shira is amazing. She is about to be 11, and she could pretty much raise herself and I love that about her, but I hate that for her because she had to grow up so fast. Now again as you know, she’s older so she has, she arrived here when she was 10. So she has her own story and she’s been through a lot. She lived with her mom until she was five and then from five to 10 she lived at the orphanage. Then she came here. So in a lot of ways I feel like she’s on her third life. And we’re working through some of that, but she is smart, and beautiful, and kind, and feisty. And one day if she ever gets on the TV show Survivor, she will have every alliance known to man and she will win that thing ’cause home girl knows how to survive.

She’s a survivalist, and I see it in her everyday, and I see it in her, it’s part of her spunk, it’s part of her character as part of her awesomeness, but it’s also part of her defiance. She’s like, "Wait a second, you’re going to tell me what to do because I’m good. I got this whole life thing down." I’m like okay really? But to see her break down some of those walls that have been built up the last few months, it makes me want to smile and cry all at the same time because it’s so beautiful. And then Stevenson is seven, and he was dropped off at the orphanage when he was about a month old. So, his entire life is at the orphanage, and he’ll be eight this summer and he has this infectious laugh, and just this zeal for life that I already seen him.

And while our communication barriers have been there because they speak creole, but their English is getting so much better and I don’t speak any creole because second languages are not my thing. We still communicate well, and I just can’t wait until the day we’re full blown able to share exactly what we’re processing and feeling and sharing because I just feel like I’m going to learn so much and I’m excited about that, but I can just see so much inside of him itching to get out. But he just doesn’t really know how to say it all yet.

Jessica:  Yeah, it’s crazy. I was cuddling with Jack last night, and he shares a room with his other brother Holden. And Holden’s out of town. So, I was like, "Jack, what do you want to share with me?" And we just cuddled for the longest time. And I just have to say, I mean we’re five years in, and the transformation that has happened, and it’s one of those transformations that’s happened so slowly you have to stop and remember the “fight and flight” that used to happen all the time. That absolutely put me, my response to the fight/flight was horrible. It triggered some deep stuff in me and I have to tell you, I had the most profound moment a couple years ago at a small leadership treat with this psychiatrist named Kurt Thompson. And he walked off the stage and I ran up to him and I was like, "I am not responding well to my son’s flight reaction to all this trauma, adoption and abandonment and all this."

Amy:  Abandonment, yeah, attachment.

Jessica:  Attachment. He looked at me and he said, "What is that calling out in you? Because God brought Jack into your life to heal you too." And I started bawling because there was something there of “yes, it is calling out to me something.” And I ended up going on sort of a healing journey then of realizing some of the things it was triggering in me, and it just was this whole beautiful thing to realize he came into my life to trigger me so that I could be healed too, you know?

Amy:  Yeah. Showing them that, it’s just so foreign to me growing up in a loving family. Even though my parents split, I still had that. I had my own abandonment issues because of my dad, but I still knew what family was. You’re trying to show two older kids, not babies. But babies still experience this too, being adopted. But trying to show them what a family looks like, and you want them to understand.

I can’t tell you how many times I ran to my closet, and just I’ve run to my closet. It’s been few and far between, so like to hear you say at five years, I mean I got goosebumps when you were sharing that with me because I feel like sometimes we’re on such a good roll right now, and then it’s like “we’re not there yet.” I’m only three months in, and I have to be patient. But you’ve just got to ride it out, and I’m thankful for people like you and Jamie Ivey and Tracey Hamilton that have been real with me and honest with me that this isn’t all roses.

Jessica: It’s tough, but it gets better. I know everyone tells you this, but I can say five years in, now, it’s pretty profound–the transformation of a home, and of attachment, and love, and all of that stuff.

 

Shop Forward and Four Things Totes

I want to jump to your friendship that you have with Mary who owns the Shop Forward, and she was the one you alluded to earlier who made all these Pimpin’ Joy hats for your mom’s memorial service. Now since then you have started Espwa, which in creole it means “hope in Haiti” and now it’s all of these products that give back to different organizations in Haiti. How did you get to know Mary? Was it through this whole product need? Y’all’s friendship is so beautiful I just have to say, and I’m like, "Man, she shows up for you, and you show up for her and it’s pretty amazing."

Amy:  Well, we met on Twitter.  I think to quote Mary’s sister is the best, “Mary has a really good social media online personality.” She’s just really good at engaging with people and feeling like you’re friends right away. But not in a weird, creepy way of “who’s this person on Twitter?” So fast forward to; we’ve got friends online, but she was going to Africa, and I had gone to Africa, we had a lot in common.

So, we started corresponding about her trip to Kenya and then she had seen that I was going to Haiti and she’s like, "I’ve always wanted to go to Haiti." I said, "Okay well let’s go." So, legit, the first time I ever met her face to face in person was at the Miami airport on our way to Port-au-Prince.

Jessica:  That is so awesome. Was The Shop Forward to provide the products to Pimpin’ Joy?

Amy: It’s her baby, but she always had a vision for the shop in her mind that she was going to do it one day, and she’s already in the clothing business, and really smart, and business savvy, and successful. But it wasn’t really fulfilling her, her main clothing stuff wasn’t really fulfilling the things she wanted to do to give back. So, she always knew she wanted the Shop Forward, but Pimpin’ Joy was her first line if you will, so she expedited things into action because of Pimpin’ Joy.

From there, other lines have started and one thing that we decided to start, one day out of sort of desperation for the orphanage–they had hit a financial crisis. And we were like, "What can we do to throw something up on the Shop Forward, or what can we create together that we can put out to our audience and sell?" I looked down at my tattoo and below my mom’s tattoo where I have “joy,” I had tattooed “espwa” for my kids so that I could look down and see joy, and hope, and know that I had hoped they were going to be home with me one day. So we took–my tattoo is in typewriter font. So, we took that typewriter font and just started designing a tee shirt. Our tee shirt was our very first thing. Then we did a tank top, and a sweatshirt, and then started selling stuff just to fundraise for the orphanage. Then, once some of that got under control, we started to learn about other groups in Haiti, and we wanted to diversify our giving. And then these “Four Things” totes, which we put under the Espwa brand, Mary gave me one for my birthday and then we had them online, like a picture of it. And people were freaking out.

Jessica:  It’s like the best idea ever. I just love this tote.

Amy:  Yeah Mary, for my birthday I think two years ago she put on my very first one, I think it said “Yoga, Pimpin’ Joy, green juice, and Dierks Bentley” were my very first four things. And that was her gift to me. And then again, I think the orphanage fell under something like “the nannies needed to get paid” and it was like a big summer. We’re like, "Okay, what can we do?" And I remember we were on a walk one day and we just decided “Let’s do Four Things totes, and let’s put it under Espwa and raise a bunch of money for the orphanage. So, we did it. And then the Four Things totes have just taken off and they’re so fun and amazing, they’re the best gift ever because it’s thoughtful and it’s personalized, and it’s fun. We’ve made sure that they’re really well made awesome tote bags.

Jessica:  I’ve taken mine all over the world now.

Amy:  Yeah, it’s the best travel bag, beach bag. I mean I’m not pumping it up, but at this time it’s been allowing us to do so much for different groups in Haiti that I don’t think we ever thought we would be able to do.

 

Helping Those Who Are Making A Difference Abroad

Amy:  And now, being an adoptive mom, I’m like, "these people are down in Haiti doing like the real deal work." These are pregnant women that would not survive if people like Tara Livesay did not exist and have a heart and a passion to give and train midwives and help these women have a safe birth where they’re giving them this medical information and postpartum care and child development education. All these things that they need that we take for granted here sort of. We kind of just do. And down there, literally this could be a difference in life and death.

Jessica:  Oh yeah, it’s so powerful visited. We visited, and Tara told us, I didn’t know that Haiti has the highest infant mortality rate, maternal mortality right in this entire hemisphere. The work they’re doing is so, so good.

Amy: And they’re doing great. It excites me that we can now reach out because Espwa is growing, it allows us to kind of want to throw a net out and talk to different people that are doing cool things and being like, "Hey, how can we come alongside you and help you? What are you doing that’s cool?" It just all happened so organically. It literally was the orphanage needed something, Mary and I are brainstorming, I looked down at my wrist and I’m like, "Okay, this is Espwa."

Jessica:  So how do we order this tote?

Amy: Well, you can go to theshopforward.com. And the Espwa line is under there, and you just pick out your four things, fill out the sheet, and then, boom, it’ll arrive in the mail.

Right now for mother’s day we’re going to Heartline Maternity Center. But if someone’s listening after this, we’re going to do Denita’s Children after that, which is a home for children that aren’t going to be adopted out. It’s this girl that’s living down there, literally raising children in Haiti, which is amazing. After that, we may move on to another little group. If anybody listening knows of someone doing something awesome in Haiti, hit us up. Shop Espwa on Instagram, and let us know. I love to know what cool things people are doing in Haiti and so does Mary. We both have a heart for it and want to try to continue to see how we can best come alongside.

 

Name That Song With Radio’s Next Delilah

Jessica:  So awesome. We need to wrap this up, but I cannot resist Amy–one time you told me sort of your future career, eventual dream could be to be Delilah.

Amy: And you were like, "Delilah?"

Jessica:  And I was like who’s Delilah, tell me about Delilah.

Amy: I’m like, you don’t know “De-li-lah…?”

Jessica:  I don’t know where I was during Delilah, but apparently not listening to Delilah. But let me tell you I’m the only one because I put it out on our noonday collection ambassador Facebook page. I said, "Okay guys, I’m about to interview Amy Brown. I’m not telling her this, but she could be the next Delilah." So, I asked them to put out different life situations they’re in, and then you are going to name that song to go with their life situation." Are you ready?

Amy: Okay, yes, ready.

Jessica:  Okay. Marty says, "I just lost my job and there’s ups and downs plus opportunities ahead." Name that song Amy.

Amy: Okay so for that one, I’m going to go with one that’s fresh on my brain and it’s Dierks Bentley “Riser.” Do you know that song?

Jessica:  Not yet, but I’m going to look it up.

Jessica:  Awesome. Okay. Jennifer Mitcheltree said she wants a song request to her son that is about “not growing up too fast or leaving them too soon.”

Amy:  What about “Forever Young” Jay-Z?

Jessica:  Love it. Can’t go wrong with that.

Amy:  Clean version.

Jessica:  I’m sure they have a clean version out there. Okay Rachel Denoff, "I am thankful and in love with my husband. We’ve grown so much over the past few years and we’re just great together.” What’s a good love song?

Amy: Randy Travis: “Forever and Ever Amen.”

Jessica:  Yes, I love me some Randy.

Wendy Johnson says, "We just adopted a baby boy and girl twins and we’re in the country right now, and we need a song to celebrate life and adoption."

Amy:  Gosh. One song that I listened to on repeat sometimes when I was getting back from Haiti and dealing with the long-awaited adoption process was Audio Adrenaline: Kings and Queens. Because you’re doing that. Are they twin, a boy and a girl? Yes. That’s perfect. A king and a queen. You just rescued a king and a queen. I love it.

Jessica:  So cool.

Amy:  Yeah.

Jessica:  Okay this next one–I know Nikki well, actually–and her sister just got diagnosed with breast cancer, so I wanted you to name that song for her, and she says, "My request would be a song that represents strength of sister bonds. My sister just had her second chemo treatment yesterday and anything that brings love and light to her across the distance that I’m feeling from being away would be incredible."

Amy: Oh gosh. That’s hard because I feel like any song would just make me cry like crazy regarding that subject and my sister. And this one probably will do that, but I feel like this is my sister. She’s the Wind Beneath my Wings: Bette Midler, so we’ll take it back to Beaches on that one. Yeah.

Jessica:  So, take it back. You can always be safe with Beaches, yes you can. Well Amy, thank you so much.

Amy: All right. Thanks Jessica. You’re awesome.

 

Go Scared by Being An Asker

Jessica: If you’ve listened to Going Scared for more than a hot second, you definitely hear the theme I’m really wanting to drive home to you. It’s the importance of being an “asker.” When you’re brave and you’re asking you’ll be so surprised at how many people really do want to show up for you. In every single interview, you hear people who know that in order to live courageously they just can’t go it alone. You’ve got to ask other people to come along with you. Amy personifies this idea so well. She landed her job simply because she walked up to Bobby Bones at lunch and asked him if she could join him. And now she is asking you to join her and all of us in creating an impact in Haiti.

“It’s the importance of being an “asker.” When you’re brave and you’re asking you’ll be so surprised at how many people really do want to show up for you.” -Jessica Honegger

Please go check out Shop Espwa. That’s E-S-P-W-A on Instagram. You know I love when we can make an impact while looking good and shop apps. Why has so many fun things including their famous Four Things Totes, which are totally customizable to your 4 favorite things and if you’re listening to this episode when it airs, proceeds from Shop Espwa sales are going to an amazing cause in Haiti called Denita’s Children which provides a safe haven for abandoned and vulnerable children, while encouraging families to stay together through education and nutrition programs.

Amy has given me up for Haiti—it’s actually one of the reasons I finally got down there a couple of years ago–she was contagious today.

So, go check her out and keep joining us. I want to take you by the hand and help you get scared to be an Asker and to be more brave. Thanks again for joining me today.