This week’s Brave & Bright Spotlight is an Alumni of our Fall 2013 Group Coaching Session. Ronni Gehron is a photographer currently based in Hawaii, though relocating soon, who came into our group and blew us away with the way she took life by storm when we were done. Working with us, Ronni told me she found her adventurous side – hiking amazing places, going on her very first solo trip without her children or husband, swimming with sharks! More than that though, what I saw in Ronni’s discovery was that she discovered that she had to take the time to do the things that lit her up and made her come alive. That she couldn’t spend any more time putting things off until tomorrow, or live in ‘if onlies.’ Ronni’s got so much positivity that surrounds her, an amazing laugh that will make you giggle, and I’m so glad to get to now call her friend.
How are you denting the universe?
I try to make parents take that little step back to enjoy everyday moments. Let kids be kids, let them be little. Play in the rain! We live in a world where they grow up too fast, way too fast. Enjoy them needing you, wanting your attention, learning, pretending…soon it will be gone.
What are you most passionate about?
This may sound cliche, but my family. More over, my children. I am passionate about making sure they are happy and know they are ridiculously loved. It seems like a “well, duh” statement, but it’s deeper than that. I come from a broken, abusive home. The mental and physical abuse I endured from my stepfather has stayed with me. Not in a damaging way, but more like inspiration. Do the opposite, be the best mom ever. I never want my kids to experience anything I have had to go through. The fear, the hurt, the questioning if you are loved or wanted. No child should have to feel those things.
I believe all this starts with my marriage. My example of marriage was two people who tolerated each other, then eventually couldn’t even do that. I went through years of my parents despising each other and it being taken out on us children. A sense of hope had arisen at 14. My mother finally had the courage to kick my stepfather out. That was very short lived. The consequence of this was I had to step up. I had to play second mother to my brother and sister. My mom had three jobs, so that left the household in my hands. I grew up way too fast. My husband entered my life not too long after this. At 16, he was my knight in shining armor. He listened to my heartaches and took me away when needed. The foundation of our relationship is so strong because of this. To know my children are growing up in a home where their parents truly, amazingly, deeply love each other brings tears to my eyes. Like right now. My kids don’t know how lucky they are. And I am grateful they will never have to know how lucky they are.
What was your moment of bravery?
July 1, 2002. I packed all my clothes and my 13 inch TV and drove with my (then) boyfriend from Boston, MA to Shreveport, LA. In a Hyundai Accent. He had joined the Air Force and was stationed at Barksdale AFB. He wanted me to go with him, but warned me he wasn’t ready to get married (teehee!). I had two options…stay at home, living with my mom with a pretty decent job or go. Best decision I ever made.
While you were going through your moment of bravery, when were you afraid?
I wouldn’t say afraid, just overwhelmed. This was it. I got out. I’m on my own. Holy crap. Things like this don’t work for my family, so in the back of my mind I was waiting for something to go wrong.
How did you overcome that fear?
A month after we got there, Craig proposed. All fear gone!
What’s next for you?
Such is military life, we are PCSing soon. For you civilians that means we are moving! Sometimes I want to pinch myself that this is my life. I live in Hawaii for crying out loud! I always embrace our new adventures. Luckily we are going back to Maryland, which is where we lived before Hawaii. I will say I am a little nervous to have to start my business over, but I think this will give me the opportunity I have been looking for to focus on in-home lifestyle photography. We are also moving back into our home there, which we kind of outgrew with our second child (we now have three). But we are remodeling a lot of different areas and that gives me hope. I have spent a lot of time on Pinterest lately!
Our Saturday Series, the Brave & Bright Spotlight, was created to highlight the stories of universe denting women who are changing the world and their lives by facing adversity head on, with bravery and vulnerability and truth. Want to nominate yourself, or someone you know, for the Brave & Bright Spotlight? Click here and tell us your story!
I’m a communicator. That’s a PC way of saying I like to talk, but I also spend a lot of my time listening, and over the years, I’ve developed a sense for subtext – how one or two words can change your entire message, what people are really trying to say and how to weave the varied layers of your story into one cohesive brand message that your clients fall in love with.
When I'm not acting as editor in chief for Vivid & Brave, you can find me geeking out over words here.
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