Andrea Hunt-Shelton is a mom of two and wife to an incredibly supportive husband. She's an amazing artist and owner of a successful floral design studio in central Illinois. Andrea submitted the following story as part of our Own Your Power Campaign and the second after we read it we immediately knew it was one that warranted its own blog post. Andrea is relatable, kind and inspiring - as she's risen above challenges to create a life that is positive for herself and others. We're so honored to have the opportunity to share Andrea's words, her triumphs and challenges, as she tells us all how she Owns Her Power and the path that led her there:
"About 8 years ago I found myself in the middle of a very difficult divorce. I had completely lost track of who I was as an artist, as a dreamer, as a human, really. I had quit my career path as an event coordinator in Los Angeles and followed my then husband to San Diego to help run and launch his career to the next level. Within no time I was fully submerged in an equestrian business that I knew nothing about. Managing his business, his marketing, and social media, taking care of his horses, and making sure his dreams came true.
My husband fell out of love with me and in love with one of my closest friends. It was a rock bottom that I never imagined happening to me. I literally wandered and walked for hours not knowing what to do. I began running, which I had never done, I would run every day in northern San Diego surrounded by beauty and flowers. It was the only thing that made me happy for a long time.
I decided to invest what little money I had in floral design school because of an ad I had seen. I found unexpected happiness and fulfillment and never looked back. The happiness was all mine, it wasn't for someone else or by someone else. Then the idea of being able to make myself happy, clients happy and strangers happy spoke to me like nothing ever had before. It was what life was all about. I kept thinking, "if we all just take care of each other, then everyone is taken care of, right?". I still try and do that today with every order, every event and even my leftover flowers. A little extra goes into everything I do.
As a mother and a floral entrepreneur, I've realized that I have a unique opportunity to teach children the fleeting virtue of kindness and selflessness. My business motto is "Give Flowers and Love, Just Because". I try and spread kindness and generosity in all of my arrangements and orders but have also started CU Petal Project, allowing kids to make flower arrangements and then surprising people with them who need a little extra love and TLC in their lives....For free.
It's an amazing lesson to teach kids, that they can do something kind without receiving anything in return. I truly believe the world could be a better place if we all acted out of the kindness we each possess in our hearts and not out of the opportunity to gain something. It seems daunting to try and make a global impact these days. So I started with my two little guys, teaching them how to love first and do something kind for someone else, just because, and to expect nothing in return. Compassion and generosity are lacking in our world. We have the power to change that, one kid at a time. I own that power.