Over the past few months, I have been pleasantly surprised to discover some seriously inspiring women via the Internet and social media. These women are pursuing big goals and are sharing their stories in meaningful ways, and their content has been a big blessing to me. So, if you need some inspiration to lift you up or help push you toward your own massive goals, you should follow these incredible ladies.
1. Francie Winslow: Francie is an AMAZING woman of God, author and speaker. Francie is passionate about strong marriages and families, and she lives out her passion in Northern Virginia. I was first introduced to Francie when a dear friend recommended her teachings at Reston Bible Church titled The Ripple Effect of Sex: An Invitation to More in Your Marriage and Sex, Sexuality, Marriage, and the God Who Called It All Good. Her words of wisdom and comfort were so powerful in the month or so before my own wedding day, and have resonated even more since beginning my new marriage.
After hearing her first teaching, I began following Francie on Instagram and YouTube (her videos are so good). Recently, Francie and her husband adopted a sweet baby boy, adding baby number five to their family of seven. She has shared her journey with adoption via Instagram and her challenges with fear. Francie's ministry is an inspiration to me because I have dreams to develop my personal ministry and help others just as Francie and her husband have done.
2. Ashley Horner: Ashley Horner is a bodybuilder, entrepreneur and philanthropist who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I started following Ashley on Instagram a few months ago because I discovered her Charlie Mike training program on Bodybuilding.com. Her program is incredible and kicked by butt, but her bio is even more impressive.
Right now, Ashley is running 230 miles along the Western coast of Haiti to raise a year's worth of funding for the Maison Fortune Orphanage primary school (a goal which she has basically doubled). I have been following Ashley's Haitian running journey via Instagram and Instagram stories. Ashley's heart to give and serve is beautiful. Plus, the grit and mental endurance required to take on a 230 mile run is unfathomable and Ashley is handling every mile like a champ as she contends with pain and exhaustion with the help of her equally inspiring friend, Hannah. Learn more about Ashley's Haiti journey here, and follow her on Instagram and on Twitter.
3. Dorothy Beal: If you are a D.C.-metro local runner, fan of Rock n' Roll Marathons, or a Women's Running/Competitor Magazine/Active.com reader, you have seen Dorothy Beal's (or Mile Post's!) face. I love Dorothy because she is a (fast) running Momma who is living her dream by building a great running brand for herself. Dorothy didn't become a runner until college (like me!), but now she has run 32 marathons, including the Boston Marathon. She preaches positivity through her I RUN THIS BODY movement and #IHAVEARUNNERSBODY Instagram account. You can read more about Dorothy's story here.
Recently, one of Dorothy's body image posts on Instagram went viral and was picked up by tons of fitness publications (here's the post from Popsugar Fitness). Her honesty was so refreshing in the face of women being bombarded with ultra-fitspo messaging (versus our previous call to be stick-thin), proving that being strong and badass does not mean the absence of cellulite, body fat and all of the "flaws" women have. Plus, I found out Dorothy is a fellow Jesus follower because she put together a great list of 26.2 Bible Verses For Running & Racing.
4. Kelly Roberts: Guys, Kelly is so funny. She's the woman behind Run, Selfie, Repeat and the founder of #SportsBraSquad, which is one of my favorite body-positive movements right now. Kelly started running after the loss of her brother and grief-induced weight gain (you can read her entire story here), and has built a successful running brand/persona through her experiences. Right now, she's chasing a BQ (Boston Qualifier aka the time she has to run to qualify for the Boston Marathon which is not an easy task) and is killing it. I have become a regular listener of her podcast, which has encouraged me to chase my own big, seems outta reach running goal of a 1:45 half marathon. Kelly is great and real and relatable and honest and...well, you should just follow her.
I'm thankful for women like those listed above and all of the women in my life who inspire me every day to keep climbing mountains, crushing goals and being true to who they are.