ERIN THE SOCIAL GURU
Erin and her husband Ken met in college while working on a film project. Ken had won a regional Emmy and planned to move to Hollywood to continue his filmmaking career. He had a brain tumor called a low-grade glioma that was inoperable, but the two remained hopeful. They fell in love, married, and moved to L.A.
In L.A., Erin became a designer/stylist. She also began blogging. She began by writing in an online journal in the mid 2000’s. She says she fell into her career almost accidentally. “ I catalogued art inspiration for one of my jobs,” she said. “I was lonely and seeking community that I didn’t have, and the Internet opened doors to new worlds, cultures, and people. The more I connected with others through the blog, the more the audience grew. Before age 30 she had built a fan base of one million women and earned the title, “The Nicest Girl Online.”
But at the peak of her climb, Erin and her husband Ken had to stop and re-evaluate their lives. Several challenges confronted them. The busy, fast paced lifestyle had been tough on them both. Erin suffered panic attacks. They left the L.A. area and moved to the Midwest to slow down their lives. With Ken’s skills as a filmmaker, and Erin’s design skills, the couple created their own web special called, Design for Mankind. The two-year show aired on HGTV.com. The show has now ended, and Erin continues to run her successful blog, also titled, Design for Mankind. She also travels to speak at conferences and international events. She makes sure she prioritizes the most important things in her life, like her daughter Bee, and her recently adopted son, Scout.
Erin says the slowing down wasn’t just about their jobs. It was an internal process that needed to happen. “On the outside it looks like we slowed out lives tremendously, for instance pursuing the freelance instead of 9-to-5, but the shift was internal, she sais.” Erin learned how not to make money the priority. She deliberately chose time, growth, and slow living so that she could reflect on what was happening in her heart.
However, she says it’s important that each person should find what pace works for him or her. “My mission for this book was not to set the expectation that slow living is the only way to live a godly life,” said Erin. “A great many people thrive in that fast paced environment. That is a beautiful thing to tap into, that gift for that. Know where you stand on the spectrum and tap in to what God has for you. Resist the temptation to measure it. The pace is not your goal- it has to come from something deeper. If we’re pursuing anything other than God we won’t land there.”
A SUSTAINING FAITH
Erin was raised in a traditional church and has always believed in God. “There is something deep within me that seeks meaning, that rejects the idea we’ve been placed here to wander with no purpose, for no reason, for no significance,” she said. Because of her faith in God, Erin believes that Ken has been healed. He is already far past the time the doctors said he would live for (11.6 years). “When I was young, I didn’t have the tools to process his terminal illness the correct way. Initially I processed it through denial, but through the years I shifted into a place of gratitude, and it’s given us such perspective. It has been a gift. Of course that’s easy to say, now that he’s healthy, but it teaches you a lot about priorities and what is important. Our story is different now.”