About The Author
Who I Am
Hey, y’all. I’m Andrea Hurley, the gal behind the computer screen around here. Thanks for your interest in learning more about me.
From The School Of Hard Knocks
I’m just a 40 something chick (i.e MOM + WIFE) from deep in the Appalachian Mountains in Eastern Kentucky.
So, what makes me an expert on anything? I’ve been a self-employed fine art and portrait photographer for a decade now but I’ve been a professional maker/creator my entire life.
I have an employment background in graphic design as well as decorating …. and because I come from a family of artisans I have even worked in both the handmade candle and ceramics markets!
I opened my first brick and mortar retail business along with my mother 20 years ago ( Geeeeeez I just realized I’m getting some age on me here! LOL) and we are planning on relaunching our online boutique in January.
I started this blog several years ago just as a supplement to my portrait photography page while I was taking a little hiatus from portraiture and working on my online shop, Market 606. A short time later I decided on a permanent career change
retirement from portraiture and return to the retail market as an independent designer.
I also thought that blogging here about Christian lifestyle, photography and entrepreneurship was my life’s ultimate purpose. I really just like to write and share ideas and this was ‘my space’.
I was just exploring blogging as a career but I entertained the thought that maybe I’d even get certified as a life coach and use this site to help other Christian boss babes who could use the wealth of knowledge I’d amassed over the years.
When Tragedy Struck
Just 5 months later, though, my oldest son, Devin Coleburn “Cole” Ousley, took his own life on October 10, 2017, at just 19 years old.
Needless to say, all plans came to a halt because my life was turned upside down.
My shop had just opened. I had unmade and unshipped orders. I vaguely remember messaging a customer and telling her that I was sorry but I had to refund her money because I couldn’t function. I closed my Etsy store and that was that.
This blog stayed intact, though, because I wrote several blog posts about my struggle, my grief and sustaining my faith along the way. It was honestly just therapeutic and it allowed my community and followers to hear my thoughts as the shock of Cole’s passing settled on our town.
Fumbling in the Dark
There have been so many bleak and utterly dark moments of my life over the last two years. To lose a child to suicide and deal with that trauma plus your grief: it just leaves you fumbling in the dark. But with the grace of God, I’ve made it this far.
To lose a child to suicide and deal with that trauma plus your grief : it just leaves you fumbling in the dark. Click To Tweet
Because of my friend helping me raise funds in lieu of flowers for Cole’s funeral, I managed to found a local suicide prevention campaign, The COLE Initiative. I began to raise quite a bit of awareness in our little town and was offered a position as a Peer Counselor for a local healthcare facility.
I accepted the job and completed the training to work with clients who were experiencing (or were at risk of) first time psychosis. I learned so much more about mental health while I was there.
Ultimately though, being directly in the field became too difficult for me personally. I was forced to leave that position due to health complications related to industry stress. However, I loved the work. Helping other people is one of the few things that has ever brought me peace in this grief and I now know it’s part of my purpose on this Earth.
Realizing The Call
I feel now more than ever that I was ‘Called to Blog’ as so they say in my faith-based business groups. I’m still finding my way; still trying to figure out exactly what God wants me to write and to say on this site. I’m more determined than ever to fulfill my purpose, to try to live my best life and also try to help others live theirs, too.
I still want to raise mental health awareness and operate the foundation but I feel very led to finally establish a separate site for that. I’m sure I’ll still post about my experiences with grief and healing here when led to but I have other ideas and thoughts, too. With God’s healing, I finally feel like I can explore those interests again.
Thanks so much for reading all of this. I hope you’ll subscribe to my updates. I have lots of posts planned for 2020 and if you’re a Christian small business or DIYer then hopefully you’ll be interested.