PODCAST #5: What We’ve Learned in a Decade of Marriage

What We’ve Learned in a Decade of Marriage

In this current social construct that has over 50% of marriages failing, my husband and I often get this question: what’s your secret for being married over 13 years?

Politically correct response: Communication, trust, and friendship.

Madi’s response: Wine, Jesus, and friendship.

You could not tell us at the age of 25 when we married that we would suffer foreclosure on our home, paralyzing credit card debt,or the death of a child. All we hoped for was a long, happy marriage. The truth is, there is happiness (a lot of it) but man have we fought to find it.

So how did we do it? How did we survive so much pain, so many fights, and so many instances of lonely silence to become the couple that gets asked for advice?

For access to the podcast interview, click below.


So I believe one of the first things we tell new couples is to learn and actually show your spouse’s love language. We encourage new couples to read The Five Love Languages prior to marriage in fact. The Five Love Languages are as follows:

  1. Physical Touch
  2. Gifts
  3. Quality Time
  4. Words of Affirmation
  5. Acts of Service

Learning what your spouse’s language is means you have a responsibility to communicate in that language. For instance, Derick’s love language is overwhelmingly physical tough. I know that every day, I need to physically touch my husband (and this doesn’t just mean sex). I need to rub his back, hug him, rub his shoulders, etc. He needs the touch to fill that love tank.

My love language however is acts of service (and actually words of affirmation is tied also). Do the dishes and call me pretty and I’m yours forever!

Within the last two years, we have learned more about love using this method and we certainly avoid more fights too. We did not use this method when the accounts were empty. As empty as our checking was, that’s how empty our love tank was too.

But today I realize, there is something beautiful about him taking my car to fill the gas tank or him picking up a brush because I mentioned needing one. Likewise for how he feels when I take just ten seconds to rub his shoulders while he sits at his desk working.

It is our way of giving the other what they need, not just what we think is right.


We can’t stress enough that fun is an essential ingredient in your recipe of marriage. We truly are best friends. If I were to win concert tickets, he’d be the one I’d want to go with. Next week is my birthday and rather than a girls weekend in Vegas, I chose one with him. Beyond our romance, we have fun. I mean it. We can sit on a couch for hours watching t.v and laughing at funny memes or vines that come across our facebook walls. When something happens in life, he’s the first person I think to call and vice versa.

Friendship will keep your marriage fresh longer than any other date, sex episode, or promise you’ve made to one another. When times get hard, it’s your friendship that will carry you through. It’s also what stops me from sometimes saying those things that I know will hurt his feelings. He’s my best friend; why would I want to hurt my BEST friend?


Space. I know, I know. I literally just said that you have to be best friends, but even best friends honor each other’s space. Before my husband was here, I was my own woman with my own aspirations, friends, goals, and dreams. I love him more than anyone, but he will never be able to compete with how much I love myself. No one has the power to take her away from me. I fought too damn hard to find her. What I love about him though is he would never try. The independent, feisty, creative woman he loved when he met me is still here and he still loves her. He still wants her to find herself. He still wants her to go after her dreams. He still wants her to live her best life on her own terms.

And him? I still want him to love riding his motorcycle without me. I still want him to envision his dream of expanding his business, because every step he takes in finding his way is one more way we grow closer together. Distance is not a bad thing. Being alone is not a bad thing. It is essential to learning how to love someone else even more.


I think we haven’t mastered marriage. I know to many it seems like it, but I don’t think you can ever truly master anything because with every stage of growth comes more to learn. I do however think we’ve found our groove. I could say something lame here like “don’t quit on each other. Just stick it out and you’ll work through.” To some extent, I guess that’s true. But the truth is some things we do have to quit. We have to quit expecting our husbands to know what we are thinking at all times. We have to quit expecting our wives to give it up after she’s worked an 8 hour work day, cooked, cleaned, and did her motherly duties. We have to quit demanding so damn much and just give grace to our best friend.

Honestly in 13 years of marriage, where I’ve made countless mistakes and apologized more than complained, grace is the one thing I believe holds our marriage together. Grace and a sprinkles of Jesus and fun.

The Still PREP’n Experience

Welcome to The Still PREP’n Experience, hosted by Madi Still – author, blogger, marketing professional, and self-certified MomPreneur. This is a show where one mom has bold conversations about life, leadership, and business, while providing tangible take-aways to listeners of all backgrounds while PREP’n (Positively Restoring and Empowering People).

To stay in touch with all things “Madi,” you can check out www.MadiStill.com or follow me on social media: @MadiStill247.

PODCAST #4: Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Three Simple Ways to Eat Simply This Holiday Season and Avoid Those Extra Pounds

We’ve all been there, standing in front of a mirror, realizing it’s January 1st and it’s time to face the morbid truth of our holiday splurge. We tip-toe to the bathroom and step gingerly on the scale (because maybe a lighter step on the scale means a lighter number also), peek through our fingers, and then in aghast, wide-eyed horror gawk at the number that appears. We take off our underwear, socks, and any jewelry and try again, becoming even more frustrated because the number actually went UP. Yes, we have all experienced this as well as the fleeting moment of regret and urge to just forego the entire plan and reach for the leftover cookies.  So how do we avoid this agonizing moment?

For access to the podcast interview, click below.

October begins the official holiday season with those aromatic pumpkin spice lattes, and with the season, many grapple with the over-indulgence of home cooked foods that they just can’t seem to say no to. Many approach the month with goals (which is great) but those goals fade with each nibble of whatever decadent dessert tempts them from the cubicle next door. So how do we enjoy those holiday parties and avoid the shopping trip for a bigger sized jean come January?

Here are three simple ways to eat simply this holiday season and avoid those extra pounds:

  1. First, understand the difference between “feeling like it and commitment.” In one particular Madi TV episode on YouTube, this topic is explored in more detail. “Feeling like it” means  we do things because it’s convenient. “I want to work out, but I had a long day at work, the kids have homework, and I have a slight headache.” Commitment means we do things, especially when the circumstances are difficult. “I will wake up at 5 a.m. to exercise because tonight is bound to be difficult.” Commitment means we drink that smoothie for breakfast and bypass the bagel with cream cheese, because we made a promise to avoid high fats/carbs. So to begin a successful holiday season, we must make a list of things we are committed to, and it must be a very serious contract one signs. Yes, sign the contract and then share it with someone who cares enough about you to call you out when you are not following your commitment list. Avoid choosing someone who will placate you (sometimes that can even be your spouse). Choose someone who will hold you accountable (another reason to seek out a wellness coach to aide in your success). Also, know that what you want most is more important than what you want now. I use this strategy when craving sweets. What I want most is a flatter belly. What I want now are these three Oreos. Sometimes, the now wins; however, most often, the most is victorious.
  2. Secondly, reward yourself for small victories. If you chose the carrots over the mashed potatoes, reward yourself. And no, not with food. You are not a dog, so stop giving yourself treats. Try rewarding yourself with something completely unassociated with food: a soothing bubble bath, a dollar per day that you exercise, etc. The point is, celebrate even small victories so you feel good about the progress you’re making and make sure you’re surrounding yourself with others who celebrate you too. When my sister was on her weight loss journey, she would give a new reward for every 10 pounds lost. Nail salon trips, a new outfit, a girls night out, or even a massage. You can even create a visual stimulus to remind you of how far you’ve come. For instance, set up two mason jars in your kitchen. One is empty, the other is filled with marbles. For every pound you lose, move one marble over to the empty jar. It stands as a constant reminder that you have achieved so much already, why mess that up?
  3. Lastly, you have to do the work of making smarter food choices as well as being more prepared. One rule to abide by is have a small snack or meal-replacement shake BEFORE heading out to celebrate with friends. This will help you avoid over-eating. You can also preview menus before heading out, bring healthier alternatives to the party you know are good for your goals, and prepare your day in a way that supports a fun night out.  Also, you are less likely to eat junk food if you eliminate junk in your home! You can’t reach for cookies if all that is available are crunchy vegetables!

Now, is this food-lover suggesting to avoid foods you love this holiday season all-together? Absolutely not. In fact, depriving yourself is worse than allowing smaller plates of what you love! Remember that you CAN fall in love with healthier foods however, and choose (more often) to eat those!

So this holiday season, when those pumpkin spice lattes, cream-filled donuts, and homemade “whatevers” tempt you, remember that it feels much worse to regret than to sacrifice. Do you feel like eating healthier? Most likely not; however, you will do this because you are committed to a healthier,happier you. No cookie will ever taste as good as success!

If you need help maintaining during this time, talk to me about our 12 Day Makeover and how you can transform in your mind, body, and soul.



The Still PREP’n Experience

Welcome to The Still PREP’n Experience, hosted by Madi Still – author, blogger, marketing professional, and self-certified MomPreneur. This is a show where one mom has bold conversations about life, leadership, and business, while providing tangible take-aways to listeners of all backgrounds while PREP’n (Positively Restoring and Empowering People).

To stay in touch with all things “Madi,” you can check out www.MadiStill.com or follow me on social media: @MadiStill247.

PODCAST #3: When Losing Weight Means Gaining Everything

The Still PREP’n Experience is LIVE!

I had the privilege of interviewing my sister, Jennifer Kirk, this week about her 65 pound weight loss. Facts I knew: My sister is a phenomenal wife and mother. My sister used a gastric balloon to alter her life (and weight). My sister is bold in sharing her story.

What I didn’t know however, was how her weight played a much bigger role in the woman she is. I didn’t know that she used her weight to hide in crowds, afraid to be noticed while she struggled with her husband’s addiction. I didn’t know that her insecurities grew larger as her waist line grew smaller. I didn’t know that she still struggles some days to get out of bed.

I believe this is one of those interviews that all women need to read/listen to. This is much more than an interview about losing weight; this is a testament to a woman who found herself and how we can all find freedom in letting go.

For access to the podcast interview, click below.


Madi: Tell me a little about yourself:

Jennifer: I always find this a tough question to answer. I am forever changing and learning. I feel like I am one person one day, and someone different on another. The basics though – I am a 43 years old woman, a Christian, the wife of a wonderful man and a PROUD mother of 4 children.

I am a daughter, a sister, a feminist and I value emotional health just as much as physical health. I value experiences & feelings far more than any material belonging. I love movies, yoga, cooking, and makeup.

Madi: What was your relationship to food as a child?

Jennifer: I grew up with a love/hate and complete denial of relationship with food. On one hand, food took center stage. Whenever there was a family gathering, there was always a huge food spread. Christmas, my grandmother made many varieties of cookies. Holidays were for special Hispanic foods that were reserved for only certain occasions. We didn’t grow up with money, and lived very meager lives financially, which played a huge role in how I viewed food.

On the other hand, the women in my family were constantly on diets. Each has gained and lost the same 30 pounds too many times to count. Each one greatly overweight, while insisting that they barely ate anything at all.

Food became both comfort and something to hate.

Madi: How did your parents educate you about nutrition growing up?

Jennifer: They didn’t. Living near poverty doesn’t allow for decisions such as nutrition; instead they chose to simply feed the family. I grew up on staples like pork-n-beans with hot dog pieces, pork chops, rice and corn, Kool-Aid, and other cheap options to make in quantity foods. As a child, my weekly highlight was getting a happy meal after church with my family. This set the tone for food being what families do, but taught me nothing about how proper nutrition fuels the body. Food became the center of family gatherings, but we were never taught food.

Madi: How did you initially gain the weight?

Jennifer: A few reasons. First, my family was going through an incredibly hard time. I was unhappy and unhealthy mentally. As a result of severe stress, and not caring enough about myself to pay attention, I was treated for migraines with medication. I gained my first 40 pounds in one year. It was very rapid.

Now that I am able to look back, it really came back to a combination of lack of self-worth and self-love and not being mindful of anything related to myself. When we are going through a rough time, it is easier to focus on everyone else, isn’t it? My husband at the time was facing addiction with alcohol and I was struggling with my own inadequacy. I never felt good about myself. Not as a wife, a mother, or a woman. I struggled with the idea that I was in a second failed marriage and showing my daughters to stay in hostile situations. I was not mindful in my life at all; I was not mindful of food, daily activities, rest, or anything related to myself. I waited for chaos to erupt everyday, so I never paid attention to myself.

I can say it was the medication, but the reality was I had long ago neglected to care for myself because I was in a co-dependent relationship. But to be completely honest – it is EASIER to be heavy. Heavy people can hide behind the scenes. It’s now, when I am thin that I have to be the most uncomfortable and vulnerable. I am shy by nature, and there is a lot of insecurity I still carry that is harder to deal with. I’m more fragile now, especially in receiving compliments daily. I’m still learning and growing!

Madi: If it’s easier to hide behind the weight, what was your “why” for losing the weight?

Jennifer: I have three daughters. I want them to be comfortable with who they are and never hide from their truth. I was never really happy or comfortable. Summers were hot, so I was physically uncomfortable, and I just decided I was finally desperate enough to change, especially once my own mother had her gastric bypass surgery and she came into her own. Selfishly, seeing our two weights get closer together prompted me into action. I wasn’t willing to be as heavy as she had been. Shallow, but that was my reason.

I decided to get an Intragastric Balloon, which not only helped me eat less, but also helped my body to correct hormones that can inhibit weight loss. I think everything works for someone. All my programs did have success initially, but boredom and self-sabotage always stopped me. It was a major decision and a humbling one at that. I had to ask my frugal husband for thousands of dollars, so I had to give it my all.

The balloon fills up 2/3 of your stomach, so it allows for 1 cup of volume at a time. The side effects are extremely difficult; your body in the first few weeks is trying to reject this foreign object. For me however, it motivated me to continue. I didn’t want to go through the bouts of nausea, diarrhea, and plentiful doctor appointments for nothing. I had six months with this balloon, so to me I had six months to change my life.


Madi: What did you learn on your journey to losing the weight? About yourself and about others?

Jennifer: Weight gain and weight loss is not about weight. It never was. It is a symptom of other emotional baggage, both old and new, in your life. It is a lifetime journey. I have learned the importance of macros, movement (I say that instead of exercise). I have learned the journey is mostly mental. We give ourselves many reasons and excuses to fail. Even people with a gastric balloon claim that it does nothing, that they are not limited and can eat just as much as they could before – just let that sink in. Physically and scientifically that is impossible. But it is another form of self-sabotage. I have also learned every scientific thing I could about how our body uses food and what foods fuel our bodies. I am a scientific/facts person by nature. It helps me make sense of it all. I taught myself to make “eating out” about the people and not the food. I used to go out to dinner and plan what I would eat. Now I eat what fuels my body. If I’m sad, I don’t feed that sadness with comfort food. Feelings are fleeting; I want to starve the sadness and fuel moving on.


Madi: What is one piece of advice you’d give to women on a journey to their weight loss and self-discovery?

Jennifer: Take time to decide. Really decide if you are ready to make all of the changes necessary to become a new you. You cannot heal others if you are broken inside. Be honest with yourself. Journal. Name all of those ugly, scary, inadequate feelings, names, thoughts, all of it. Acknowledge it all. Address it all. And begin to heal from it.

I want to tell women, just give yourself a break. You are learning and getting new tools every single day. You are doing great. You got out of bed and braved the world. You chose to love yourself. You chose no for others, and yes for yourself. Honestly, what else is there?

The Still PREP’n Experience

Welcome to The Still PREP’n Experience, hosted by Madi Still – author, blogger, marketing professional, and self-certified MomPreneur. This is a show where one mom has bold conversations about life, leadership, and business, while providing tangible take-aways to listeners of all backgrounds while PREP’n (Positively Restoring and Empowering People).

To stay in touch with all things “Madi,” you can check out www.MadiStill.com or follow me on social media: @MadiStill247.

PODCAST #2: De-clutter Your Life

So if you are anything like me, just looking at the above picture is causing you to itch or want to crawl inside and start cleaning. For many people, this room is a daily reality of what it’s like to live inside of clutter. Clutter isn’t just a mess; it’s the cause of stress and anxiety for millions of people today.

Featured in today’s blog is why clutter wastes more time and money, why it causes mental health issues and how you can de-clutter your life.

Clutter Affects Your Time


Studies show that clutter actually affects how much time you waste. Think about it . . . how much time are you spending in search of your lost keys, the $10 you swore you put on your dresser, the socks you wear for luck, or just one pen to sign your kid’s permission slip.

When we have clutter in our drawers or on our counter tops (or Gasp- on our desk) it is nearly impossible to see clearly. Your eyes have to visually adjust to every object you see in front of you and that tornado clouds your judgment. You could literally stare right at the lost item and not even realize it because it is surrounded by so much junk.

Tip to Fix It:

Take one day per drawer/cabinet in your home. I think the reason so many people are hesitant to start a purging process in their homes is because they are overwhelmed by the inordinate amount of work to be done. One drawer and cabinet per day however will take perhaps 20-30 minutes. Put on some happy music while you clean or a motivational video and use this time to think of it as “I’m doing this for me.”

Clutter Causes You to Lose Money

“Honey, where’s the mortgage bill?” you ask after searching frantically for thirty minutes in a monsoon of papers on your desk. Clutter does not just look bad; it can cause you to lose important papers or bills, therefore accruing late fees.

Tip to Fix It:

Now I will admit this is by far the hardest area to commit to cleaning. My husband (I love him, I swear I do) is a “Paper Hoarder”. The man saves bills from when he was 21 (He’s 39 now.) I mean, do you think they are coming back for that 21 cents you owe on your old flip phone?

What we have started in our household is the “clean and analyze” method. First, just like your drawers, you need to spend time daily cleaning your desk. Let’s face it, most people cannot keep their workspace clean if they go more than 5 days without tending to the influx of papers that pile up daily. Spending 10 “power minutes” to clean the desk will help keep the mess contained for longer periods of time. I also recommend doing this mid-afternoon when the afternoon slump hits you hardest.

The analyze method is for you to analyze everyday “will it be harmful to throw this away?” Current bills would cost you money to toss, but that birthday card your grandma gave you two years ago will not. Throwing things away is not bad; it’s cleansing. If this is really hard for you, ask a friend to help. Trust me, I have zero problems throwing away anything my husband deems as important (insert evil chuckle here.)

Clutter Causes You Stress and Anxiety


Before you say, “Oh I’m fine though,” think about if any of the above situations caused you to flinch a little (lost bills, lost items, etc).

I want you to think about how clutter in your home causes stress in certain situations:

  1. Ever have to spend all day cleaning before entertaining guests?
  2. Ever feel like you can’t think? You just feel like your mind is cluttered with thoughts and ideas and your head might explode?
  3. Ever experience mood shifts when you walk into a cluttered room? (I know when my son doesn’t clean his room, I’m instantly annoyed or agitated.)

A cluttered home, car, closet, purse, or desk = a cluttered mind. In order to think clearly and feel good about those thoughts, you need space to be able to do so.

Tips to Make This All Work:

First of all, know that some clutter is normal, especially if you are a parent or live in a home with a larger group of people. It’s unreasonable to expect that every space will be 100% clear (and if you are a mother of a young child and that’s so- write a damn book so we can all learn from you.)

But seriously, start to think about how your clutter affects your “feng-shui” and how that clutter diminishes your creativity. Once you identify what areas cause the most stress, put yourself on a 30 day “cleanse”. Purge your home, your car, your closets, your bags, etc. I’m not saying to do all of this in one day. Who has time for that? I’m saying tackle one task per day for 30 days. There are quite a few books and websites that have calendars meant for this (does anyone love Pinterest as much as me?)

Once you take the 30 days to purge, set up parameters for you to not fall victim to this again. A hook for your keys, a bill organizer, a trash can in every room . . .whatever the system, use it.

I also recommend doing this before 2019. In order to bring in new, we need to purge the old (especially before the 2018 holiday season starts and we begin collecting unnecessary things all over again.)

Oh yeah, and last but not least- things don’t bring you happiness. When we live a life of simplicity, it’s a lot easier to keep our homes (and our minds) clear.

Love and light,
Madi Still

The Still PREP’n Experience

Welcome to The Still PREP’n Experience, hosted by Madi Still – author, blogger, marketing professional, and self-certified MomPreneur. This is a show where one mom has bold conversations about life, leadership, and business, while providing tangible take-aways to listeners of all backgrounds while PREP’n (Positively Restoring and Empowering People).

To stay in touch with all things “Madi,” you can check out www.MadiStill.com or follow me on social media: @MadiStill247.

PODCAST #1: What I Learned About The Word NO

The Still PREP’n Experience is LIVE!

I’m super excited to announce you can now listen to The Still PREP’n Experience on Apple, Spotify, and anchor!

I welcome you to listen and share your thoughts! Episode #1 is about the power of the word “No.”


When I was a little girl, I watched my mother in awe of her kind heart. My mother was a true gem. She gave with such vigor and passion. You needed $20? My mom would cough it up with no problem. You liked her purse? She would take it off her shoulder and hand it over to you. She gave everything she had to people in need. The problem with this was when my mom lost everything from a job layoff, no one was able to give half of what she had given for all those years.

So what did this 37-year-old mom sitting here in total, random reflection mode learn from this? I learned that “yes” means “I love you.” Yes means, “I support you.” Yes means, “Will you be my best friend because I’m too scared that you’ll leave me if I say no.”

What kind of dysfunctional mess is that?? We live in a world where “No” is misinterpreted. So what do we do? We say yes to almost everything in hopes that we hold on to those we love. Problem is, we lose ourselves in the process. We say yes to that family birthday party, though we truly despise the way Aunt Bertha asks “when are you going to get married” and the way Susan lets her twin boys run around the house wreaking havoc and screaming “long live the twins.”

We say yes to that third date with the guy from the office because we don’t want things to seem “weird” if we just say “No thank you.” We say yes to loaning our sister money for the umpteenth time because we can’t bear the thought of saying no and her questioning if we are truly there for her.

So how do you break the cycle? How do you find your power and re-learn the word “no”? YOU JUST START SAYING IT. Better yet, say it, and don’t explain it. No is a complete sentence. We have to stop linking our “yes” with love. No is the most powerful word in our vocabulary because it not only strengthens our SELF-LOVE, it allows us to also express love in ways that matters . . . not just with material things or showing up to places we aren’t interested in going to, but truly releasing our love in powerful, internal ways.

You are worth your NO. Use it. Love it. Find power in it. Your life will never be the same again.

The Still PREP’n Experience

Welcome to The Still PREP’n Experience, hosted by Madi Still – author, blogger, marketing professional, and self-certified MomPreneur. This is a show where one mom has bold conversations about life, leadership, and business, while providing tangible take-aways to listeners of all backgrounds while PREP’n (Positively Restoring and Empowering People).

To stay in touch with all things “Madi,” you can check out www.MadiStill.com or follow me on social media: @MadiStill247.

My TEDx Experience: A Reflection

In the fairy tale, Cinderella, the clock chimes midnight. Her chariot turns back into a pumpkin. Her clothes become a disheveled mess, a stark contrast from the glorious ballgown she wore while dancing with the prince. All she has left are memories of the best night of her life.

I do not live in a pumpkin. I do not own disheveled clothes. I am still living my “happily ever after” complete with the prince; however the morning after my TEDx talk, I could relate to Cinderella. The magic of the night was gone, leaving a melancholy feeling in my spirit for at least one brief moment. A single glass slipper tucked away in my pocket, the memory of the magic tucked inside my heart. Then I began to reflect and smiled.

I knew that I was chosen to share the most powerful story of my life. What I did not know was how that story would creep back into my heart and peek inside my soul from deep crevices I thought were hidden. I forgot the pain of losing my first-born son. I forgot the darkness. I forgot the intense grieving. Reliving those intimate scenes reconnected me to my story – and my son – in a very powerful way for which I’m truly grateful.

It feels now as though my son has been reborn with renewed purpose. I expected to feel fulfilled in sharing his story, but I did not expect to feel such immense pride. I’m proud that I was chosen to be his mother. He died ten years ago and yet he continues to live on through his story. His purpose touches the lives of countless people grappling with their own pain. How did I get so lucky to be chosen as the communicator for his life?

Weeks leading up to the talk, I felt very much “over it.” I was just about one week out from presenting and sleep evaded me. 3:00 A.M. became my wake-up call, and I would lie in bed repeating and reviewing my talk no less than three times every single night. I would make minor changes, obsess over minutiae, then remind myself that I was chosen for a reason.

On Halloween, I took my son trick-or-treating with a knot in my stomach. I was honestly more nervous about rehearsals the next day than I was about the event itself. I was extremely anxious to present in front of the other speakers. If they heard my story in rehearsals, how would the story continue to impact them the day of when it had to count? I honestly resisted the idea, until rehearsals actually came.

Once I entered the auditorium, I saw the stage and oh, what a stage it was. It was not like the stages I’m familiar with. It was a global stage, and my excitement began to rise. The feelings of anticipation and even relief escalated when a few of the speakers “choked.” I thought, “Wow. As established as these leaders are in world, they are just like me: nervous.” I also truly appreciated the amazing coaching I heard from each speaker. I found it incredibly valuable and as each speaker presented, our group grew closer. We bonded through our stories, our nerves, and our need to be connected. Hugs were exchanged, along with tears, and heartfelt praise. Honestly, rehearsal day solidified my love for the TEDx journey and crew.

Many of the speakers in our group mentioned that they got no sleep the night before the main event; I on the other hand slept soundly. Perhaps it was the eight-hour rehearsal day. Or maybe it was the very personal hour I spent sitting inside the window frame in my hotel room in prayer. Either way, I felt as though I was truly ready.

The day was, for lack of a better word, magical. From the emotional highs and lows of each speaker, to the praise I received from the audience in a resounding standing ovation, I felt as though this “bucket list day” was everything I had hoped for and so much more.

All 36 speakers are now connected by our stories, our desire to succeed, and our experience of sharing the honor and privilege of standing on that red carpet. I can truly say I will never forget the way the rug felt under my multi-colored flats, nor the way I felt wiping away tears as I sat in the audience, listening to so many powerful talks. I  will never forget the kindness of the TEDx tribe, nor will I forget feeling a part of something far bigger than myself.

If I can impart any wisdom to someone wanting to share their own story on the TEDx platform, it would be to embrace their vulnerability. Something happened to me as I allowed my own story to touch me once again to my very core and I allowed those emotions to reverberate of the walls of an auditorium and into the souls of the audience. Let go, is what I would say to future TEDx speakers. Let go and be free.

Madi Still to be Featured Speaker at TEDx Wilmington Women Event

We build them, we cross them, and sometimes we even burn them, for better or worse. At the 2017 TEDxWilmingtonWomen 2017, we will explore the many aspects of this year’s theme, Bridges, through curated TED and TEDx Talks.At this time of deep divides and global challenges on the rise, we will hear TED and TEdx Talks from entrepreneurs, innovators, artists and activists, thought leaders from business and civil society—bridge builders from around the world. Join us!  We would like you to be part of this event!

Madi Still, the woman behind Still PREP’n 24/7, started her journey into discovering her power nearly a decade ago when she survived the death of her two-day old son, Noah. For one year, she struggled with overwhelming grief, until one day she chose to persist past pain and discover her purpose and passion. She knew that only by doing so would she truly bring honor to her son’s life. Since tapping into her life’s mission to Positively Restore and Empower People (PREP), she has gone on to lead hundreds of others to do the same. Former public school teacher turned full-time “MomPreneur”, Madi combines her passion for teaching with her desire to be a force for positive change in the world by forging empowering relationships with countless other like-minded people. She is an advocate for health on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. She shares her journey and tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle on her weekly vlogs, blog articles, speaking engagements, and social media. Her Mondays with Madi episodes, which air weekly on her YouTube channel called Madi TV, are the highlight of her fast growing fan following and subscriber base. Her deepest desire is to positively impact as many lives as possible.

TEDx was created in 2009 in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.” It supports independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community. The TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like

At TEDx events, a combination of live presenters and TED Talk videos spark deep conversation and connections at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently, under a license granted by TED.

Over the years, TEDx events have evolved into microcosms of their local community, each event piecing together its own brand and identity.

Since 2009, more than 50,000 people have shared their ideas on TEDx stages in nearly 180 countries. The ideas are shared on a special YouTube site as well. Since 2009, more than one billion people have viewed TEDx talks.

Over the years, TEDxWilmington, has grown, over the years, from one annual event to seven events in 2016 including the annual TEDxWilmington Conference and six separate TEDxWilmingtonSalons. All TEDxWilmington events in 2016 are produced by Magic Dust, LLC, under the direction of Ajit Mathew George who serves as the Executive Producer and sprinkles magic dust to make sure each event is very special. Over 50 people have volunteered to be part of the 2016 TEDxWilmington Tribe. We invite creators, catalysts, entrepreneurs, artists, technologists, designers, scientists, thinkers and doers to share at this all day conference what they are most passionate about – positive ideas for the world and Delaware. See All Speakers.

Ajit George was granted the TEDx license in the fall of 2011 to organize the very first TEDxWilmington on August 9, 2012 at the Delaware Art Museum. TEDxWilmington 2013 was held on August 8 with a full-day program at World Cafe Live at the Queen.

TEDxWilmington 2014 and TEDXWilmington 2015 were both a full day of programming on August 6, 2014 and October 28, 2015 at the World Cafe Live at the Queen. Between 2014 and 2015, we organized three TEDxWilmington Salons, the first of which was held on November 19, 2014 at OperaDelaware and the second one on March 13, 2015 at Winterthur Museum Gallery. The third TEDxWilmington Salon was held on July 31st at Baylor Women’s Correctional InstitutionMore about TEDxWilmington Salons.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world. TED is owned by a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation. TED’s agenda is to make great ideas accessible and spark conversation.

TEDxWilmington is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. TED believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. TED.com is building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.

Follow TED on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Madi Still Says, “Bloom Where You’re Planted”

The lotus flower is a remarkable creation. Despite growing in dark, murky waters, everyday it blooms in sunlight free from dirt and grime. I reflected on this a few weeks ago when a landscaper came to our house that we are currently in the process of selling and planted a few bare-naked rose bushes on our front lawn. At first, they were simply bushes thrown in some dirt. The only indication that they would possibly turn into roses at all were the thorns that covered each stem. Over time, sunlight and water have contributed to the growth of stunningly beautiful, hot-pink rose bushes in glorious, full bloom.

How did that happen? They grew because they were planted in good, fertile soil and tended to with love and sunshine.

Some of us may be growing in the same garden we were initially planted in, with no fertile soil, sunlight, or water. Some of us may have been planted in crevices of concrete, expected to wilt before even reaching full bloom. The great news is we can uproot and be planted elsewhere. It’s time for new soil and new seeds.

There are a few things one must be aware of when choosing new soil in which to grow:

Accept Dirt

Flowers, when they are under dirt, have to prove they can grow by pushing through the dirt. At first, the dirt is cold, dark and suffocating. Embrace this. All flowers need to endure this critical, first step in the phases of maturation. In saying this, accepting this dirt isn’t the same as allowing dirt. I don’t suggest that you allow people to throw dirt on you that doesn’t advance your growth. I encourage you to consider however that when you are beneath some dirt, accept this as your personal challenge to bust through.

Anticipate Drought

You have to anticipate some drought. Sometimes we forget to water the garden and the roses are thirsty. It’s the same in your garden. Sometimes we forget to water ourselves with love, personal development, and proper nutrition. You must carefully tend to the garden to watch it grow. Have you ever eaten a healthy meal and felt amazing? Have you ever felt invincible after a tough workout? Nutrition and exercise are not just vital for health; they are vital for optimal wellness as a whole.

Take Time

By far the most frustrating challenge of gardening is the waiting period. We often struggle with how far we have come because we want everything now. In this high demand society where everything is available at our fingertips, we tend to expect life to work the same way. Flowers however, need time to grow. Sometimes we look at someone else’s garden and judge our own patch of land according to theirs. Remember that comparison is the thief of joy (Mark Twain). If you want your garden to grow, recognize that in order to grow, you must first master your OWN garden, then you’ll be gifted with more.

So despite where you are planted, you too can emerge from the dirt and flourish into a beautiful lotus flower. Remember it takes time. Some may try to knock you down or cut your roots, but through it all stay true to yourself, set realistic goals and dare to be rare!



I’m always amazed by how quickly it happens. One moment, I’m dealing with the typical stresses that come in a day and the next moment, I’m lying on a floor in a fetal position in tears convincing myself to not just pack my bags and run away. If you’ve ever experienced this, or experienced the fear of sweaty palms, quickened heart rate, shortness of breath and uncontrollable tears, then you too struggle with anxiety.

At this very moment, I’m using this piece as a cathartic method to dealing with yet another attack. Not even twenty minutes ago, I threw my son’s toy across the room, angry for yet another toy to pick up. Angry that my husband sat in the midst of junk lying all around the living room without any intention on helping to pick it up. Angry that my home still hasn’t sold after 111 days on the market. Angry that despite all the work I’ve done to build my business, I’m currently stagnant. Angry that I. Can’t. Break. This. Cycle.

Right now, Christina Perri’s “Human” is playing on my Spotify playlist, and as I allow these emotions to seep in, she’s singing my story: “I can only take so much, til I’ve had enough. I’m only human. I bleed when I fall down. I crash when I break down.”

This piece isn’t being written to provide facts about what to do to cope with the crash. The truth is, I don’t know anymore. I do personal development… A LOT of it in fact. I read the bible. I pour into others so much that I neglect myself at times (Ah ha!). When I go back and do self care, others feel neglected and can’t function without me… and the cycle continues. What this piece IS doing however is keeping me from doing something crazy. Truth is, what I WANT to do is get in my car and drive until I no longer know the roads. You can’t do that as a mom though can you? Just like you can’t throw your son’s toys, leaving him and your husband to stare in confusion at what even happened.

What do you do when there’s no music to inspire you? When there’s no one to listen. When you exhaust prayer and resources? I’d like to say listen to more personal development. Pray more. Sneak away for an hour to cry alone. But then what? Do you come home to more of a mess because you left it? Honestly, I don’t know, but what I DO know is this isn’t the end of my road. It also isn’t the end of the road for you either.  We both deserve to fight another day. I don’t know where the fight will come from today. I don’t know what will uplift me in this moment or how I’ll even face tomorrow, but I know that I will, because my promises to myself mean more than the pain of achieving them. I’ll go home and read my bible, I’ll read It Begins With Me, listen to Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, or Lisa Nichols for motivation.

And you’ll do whatever it is that you do. Together? We. Will. Get. Back. Up.

Be Healthy

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