Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Proebster.
So, before we jump into specific questions about what you do, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always loved capturing memories and moments throughout my life and using these moments to inspire or evoke a feeling in others. I am deeply passionate about love, joy, gratitude, and faith, and these things are best explained through writing and photography for me. It started as a child and a love of reading and learning and relationships. I would spend hours with my nose in a book, immersing myself in the story and learning empathy for characters from all different walks of life. This love of reading also taught me how to write eloquently, and it is with that in mind that I pursued a post-secondary degree in English. The added depth that photography provides went hand-in-hand with this creativity, which translated into me starting a blog about six years ago.
Today, I am the wife of my high school sweetheart and the mother of two boys – 1 is 3.5 years old and the other is currently growing in my belly. My life has been very full and rich in ways that are not monetarily measured and I think that is a theme that people resonate with. I want to show love to others, to my family, to myself; and Instagram and blogging are simply platforms for that. They give me an opportunity to connect with other women (and some men) to share that life may be hard but it is also filled with so much beauty – that our gratitude and perspective in the small, joyful moments can overshadow hardship, frustration, anxiety, etc. I use fashion, beauty, motherhood, family, faith, and body positivity posts to reach an audience, to teach them something, to inspire them, and to start a dialogue on how we can all be happy right where we are.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Life, in general, was a pretty smooth road. There were some struggles with comparison, wanting to be perfect, my parents’ relationship issues when I was a teen – but even through it all, I’ve smiled and laughed and loved. The surface may be a little rocky – as life always is – but what matters is the rock you’ve built your heart on. Do you see the worst? Or do you look for the best? Are you wanting to be in control? Or have you surrendered that you can’t control it all? I think this perspective makes a world of difference in our mental and physical health. I truly believe that a positive life is often just a result of a positive mindset. And we find ourselves, our purpose, and our ability to love others when we are humbled by all the things we thought we knew and didn’t. That comes with age, experience, maturity, and God showing you that He is in control. Young women must remind themselves every day that they are loved beyond measure, created in the image of God, highly favored, and beautiful inside and out. This self-confidence isn’t arrogant but rather a rooted understanding that without doubt, and no matter the opposition, they can rise above. That they don’t need to please the masses.
Has blogging and building a small social media platform been a smooth road? No, but that’s ok! Growing in a saturated market is slow. You have to think: who are you trying to impress with immediate success? There is so much to learn when it comes to growth. The learning process should be just as important as the growth itself. Do not try to become known or make a name for yourself overnight – no matter how tempting it may be. Embrace the struggle, the long hours, and the connections you make along the way. Because ultimately those relationships are more life-giving than “followers” anyways. You don’t have to have a large audience to make a difference – you may change the life of 1 person, and THAT will be the success.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m simply a positive, relatable voice. I share the mess. I share the triumphs. I share my struggles. I share love. On the surface, I use my platform to teach women how to braid, how to style an outfit, how to capture moments of their families. Under that, I want these women to feel loved, supported, encouraged, and comfortable in their skin when they visit my page. I’m most proud of the connections and friendships I’ve made. I don’t ever want the space to feel like I’m unapproachable or unrelatable. There is room for everyone at the metaphorical table to be themselves, to feel part of a tribe, to support one another. I just want to have a place where that is fostered and celebrated. Some pages want to teach you how to cook, to feed your belly; I want to feed a person’s soul. I want them to feel something.
I am most proud when I receive messages telling me that something I posted resonated, inspired, helped, or encouraged someone. That another pregnant mama is thankful that I posted a photo in my swimsuit because that inspires her to not feel self-conscious, or the young woman who is questioning her faith tells me that my boldness in mine empowers her, the friend who reaches out and tells me that by being a positive voice she’s been seeing things in a more positive light, or the motherless woman who isn’t sure if she can raise children sees me with my son and has a change of heart. Those messages are my measure of success – not how many people know my name or how many people learn how to braid.
Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
It is going to sound cliche but my first resource is my Bible. It is where all hope and grace and love flow. It calms your heart and gives you perspective.
I don’t rely much on technology to fuel my creativity or inspire me. I love books with female heroines and girl bosses. Books like #GirlBoss by Sophia Amaruso sets my soul on fire for perseverance – which is the number one ingredient for success. The Giver is one of my favorites because it explores the human condition at its core and not only makes you think but also feel for humanity. Harry Potter ignites my sense of adventure. The Hunger Games makes me feel brave. The Secret Keeper stirs my empathy and curiosity. I take inspiration from everything I read and see. I also steer clear of purposefully negative or scary images as they weigh me down.
Following women on social media like Amber Fillerup – whose posts are not only filled with beauty but also reality (like her kids getting food all over her clothes and driving a minivan); Noelle Downing – who has persevered through intense heartbreak and is confident in her curvy skin; Bohannah Gerritsen from @thesimplefolk_ who shares sweet and joyful moments of her children, their homeschooling journey, and a natural way of life (her gentleness and humility feeds my own); and Elise Cook for her sense of adventure, respect for the earth, and the kindness between her and her husband. Filling my Instagram feed with women who inspire me and show me the simple joys of life is one step in creating a positive online experience.
My favorite apps are AirBnB because traveling is a great tool for learning about the human condition, connecting with people, respecting the earth, finding inspiration, practicing gratitude, and being still; and a Messenger app because it allows me to stay connected to the people I love. Their constant support helps me do my best in life.
Katie Bertagnolli Photography