On a summer morning in June, Dayna Adewuya came for a visit. Upon opening the front door, there she stood, presenting a smile that starts from within, her joyful entry did not even hint that she had already been up for some time, dropped the kids at school, and hustled her way up to my neck of the woods for a podcast recording. She seemed as at ease and as beautiful as ever.
My friendship with Dayna started about a year ago, after an introduction by a mutual friend and photographer, Sergio Vaz Lopes. Our first phone call lasted for over an hour as we discovered that our paths paralleled and our philosophies aligned. Her grace, compassion, and love for others was evident from the beginning. However, her perseverance, ability to navigate tough situations, and her keen grasp of business and relationships are what I found to be intriguing. Dayna’s many layers present an intelligent and capable woman who possesses unique superpowers that she shares in the world. Not afraid to share her thoughts, time, or talent, Dayna is ablaze with purpose. She is not afraid to embrace change and reinvent herself along the way. If you visit with her long enough, you will hear her reveal a mantra, “Something good has got to come out of this!”
Dayna grew up in California from humble beginnings. One of six, she learned early on that she would have to make a way and blaze her own trails. They did not have a lot of money, nor any plans for college, however, her father at one point gave her a gift. He said, “I can give you all the advice, but eventually you will have to find your own way.” That gift of empowerment gave her a different perspective on life and challenges. While she has had bumps and bruise along the way, she says, “I tend to look at things and I can break it down into phases, and then it doesn’t seem that difficult to me.”
“Something good has got to come out of this!”
With her positive mindset Dayna took a dating risk. Early in her career, while working long hours and commuting in Santa Monica, California, she did not have much time for dating. After tiring of the blind dates that her friends arranged, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Finally, after seeing a commercial for E-Harmony, she thought,”Let me give it a try,” believing for certain that, “Something good has got to come out of this!” Something good did come, her husband of 10 years, Opeyemi Adewuya!
Over the course of time in the financial services industry, she had the opportunity to align herself with some of the biggest banking names in the industry, and, as fate would have it, it is also was where the rug was pulled from beneath her. While working at a firm in Houston, The Stanford Financial Group, she thought she had, “arrived.” She poured herself into the job of a lifetime only to find that the firm was entangled with a ponzi scheme. In one moment she was living her dream, in the next, she was out of a job. She left the doors of that company with nothing but her personal items and many questions. With a myriad of emotions, she tried to rebuild her life.
Little did I know that I would come into my true calling.
Eventually, a fresh opportunity arose for her family, one of a new beginning and a fresh slate. She was ready for a change. Pregnant, and with a toddler in tow, she and her family packed up and moved to Saudi Arabia. In her words, “Little did I know that I would fall in love with Saudi Arabia…Little did I know that I would come into my true calling.”
With much contemplation, she knew that this move meant she could reinvent herself and heal from the setbacks of her career. She embraced an opportunity to teach male Saudi children English, completed her MBA, and built and international school. She discovered in this metamorphosis that she could not leave her past, she had to address it and let it become part of her story, even though it was difficult, messy, and painful.
For six years she transformed and grew herself in Saudi Arabia. Then, life threw a curve ball– her brother was sick and she had to come home to California. While she didn’t know what was in her future, she decided upon that visit to stay in the states, move back to her Texas home, and as a single mom with the support of her husband abroad, has worked to rebuild their life in Houston to make way for their future.
Today, her story continues to unfold as she creates a real estate company, The Adewuya Group. She draws from her well of experience to provide a uniquely personalized service for her clients. Dayna knows a thing or two about fresh starts, both stateside and internationally, and is able to assist in a variety of transitional circumstances. She is passionate about people and insistent on building a personal connection. Her own journey has given her a larger capacity for compassion for others as they are going through their own transitions. Dayna is an example of strength and encouragement and uses her super power to help people take monumental tasks and turn them into bite-sized pieces!
1. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it has to be done! Do not get caught in the web of perfectionism. Remember there is something powerful in just getting it done.
2. Speak Your Truth. There is healing and power in the things you have experienced.
3. Don’t let anyone mute your voice! Do not listen to the people who want to shut you down.
“There are so many women in our life, that God puts into our life to be able to lean on, for a reason. We don’t come into the world by ourselves, we come into the world with the help from another woman. From the beginning we need other people.”-Michelle Simon
Momming is tough business! You can read all the books (which is good), watch programs (which is good), and go to seminars and parenting workshops (again, good!), but nothing, and I mean nothing, beats a mom mentor. Over the years I have had several moms that have been my lighthouses in the storms of motherhood. There was Olivia, our nanny who helped me in the baby stage. There was Shana, my life long BFF whose children were only 6 months older than mine– so she got the, “I am freaking out right now!” phone calls. And, let’s not forget, my own mother who still listens to my personal crankiness and woe is me complaints… and promptly sets me straight!
Now that I have teenagers I have noticed that moms get a little stickier, we compare notes and tactics (it is a battlefield, y’all!) We inspire one another, we root for each other, and we reach for each other when things are bumpy. It is a wonderful village to be a part of.
One of my mom friends of inspiration is Michelle Simon. She is a mom of 7 children whose ages range from teenager to 3-years old! I love watching her in action. There is always a little one close by, one running around, one MIA, and others rough-housing, hungry or doing homework! It is an energetic and loving family full of organized chaos and adventure. Michelle has a constant smile (as does her husband, David). Michelle displays endless grace under pressure!
In observation, she has always given me hope on my bad days! With my 2 children, I pale in comparison with activities and responsibilities- but whether it be 1 or 10, it is still a constant learning curve. Her example of parenting allows us to take a deep breath and remind ourselves that all is well! Mind you, she is a mom just like all of us, good moments and turbulent– what she has is a wonderful perspective!
“Each week is a new week.”-Michelle Simon
On the podcast, we share an honest and raw conversation about the adventure of motherhood. Michelle gives a bit of inside information about family, parenting style, laundry, raising teenagers and how her Catholic faith ties into it all.
Listen to The Unmuted Life Podcast with special guest Michelle Simon
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To continue my May series on moms and motherhood, please meet, Kimberly Robinson. She is a mom of 7, a registered nurse, and an entrepreneur. She sparkles from the inside out and I have loved getting to know her.
On the podcast, she shares some insightful wisdom on parenting and motherhood. As her children are now adults, she is able to give reflective perspective to those of us still in the wilds of parenting.
I for one am grateful for other-mother wisdom. My own children are now teenagers and it requires new parental navigational skills that I have not quite mastered! Outside of learn by doing, the best way to learn is to lean into to others that have already chartered the waters!
*My makeup is by Kimberly*
Connect with Kimberly Click Here.
Happy Mother’s Day! You are appreciated, beautiful, loving and amazing!!! Thank you for Unmuted momming!
The ultimate gift is motherhood. It is difficult and rewarding. We have hearts outside our body that we love beyond words. Motherhood is a beautiful, wild adventure filled with unexpected twists and turns, love and laughter (and yes, even tears).
May you be blessed in all ways. Love you Moms!Have a Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day!
For fun, I interviewed my Mom for the podcast. She was an instrumental part of helping me build an unmuted life! We talked momming and business. Then for fun, she gobbled like a Turkey…
The UnmutedLife Podcast Podcasing-with -my-Mama–Mothers-Day-Edition
Sometimes we wander aimlessly in our life and do not listen to the whispers of our hearts. When you can tune into the calling upon your life and take action on that calling, that is where your unmuted life begins. As for Michelle Harper, she listened to her call and boldly stepped away from a lucrative 15-year corporate career to courageously chase down her dreams.
“Why am I in a miserable sales job when my passion is design and helping people love their homes?”
Michelle Harper asked herself that simple question that ultimately changed her course forever. Having followed the corporate path for 15 years, she finally took a chance on chasing down her own dreams of building an interior design business. With her homey mission and desire to create warmth, love, and joy inside of people’s homes, Right Next Door Designs was formed. While the transition was challenging and change takes courage, she hit the ground running and has never looked back.
She was motivated for change so that she could spend more time with her children instead of on the road selling for others. Through prayer, introspection, and timely inspiration from a church service, she knew that, “God does have a purpose for all of us. We all have a calling.” While she faces obstacles and new challenges regularly, she says, “I never gave it a thought in terms of success or failure or anything like that, I was just going to do what God called me to do.”
Her jump start was a Facebook post that resulted in her initial clientele. Now, only three years later, she has built an interior design client base and a retail space all while keeping the main thing the main thing: keeping her children a priority. When asked how she balances her business with her family as a single mom, she reveals that she handles it in stride. She always tries to be home for the kids but gives herself grace if she cannot do it that day. Michelle is also very passionate about setting a good example of her work ethic so that she can teach them the core values of making a good life happen.
Michelle knows that it takes much energy, drive, and focus to live a good life and as much as she works on the interior design of people’s homes, she also believes on working on the interior self. Her personal mission is to remember that, “I am a proud, joyful, and loving mom, grandmother, sister, daughter, and friend who strives to be a role model to all who I encounter. I want to help others achieve all that God meant them to be.”
Michelle takes her core values into the work she does inside people’s homes. For her, design is based on joyful living and a happy home.
When you meet Michelle, you will get a warm welcome and more than most likely leave with a hug. You can find her at her retail shop, Right Next Door Designs, in The Woodlands, shows, lacrosse games with her kids, and working on client home transformations. She has a big vision for the future and what is next for her business. The best is yet to come!
To find out more about what is on Michelle Harper’s mind, listen to her on The Unmuted Life Podcast.