After taking care of everyone else, this stay-at-home mom finally got the go-ahead to start a business of her own, but it was not at all the business she expected.

February 25, 2021 7:24 pm

By Shelley Hunter

Listen to the Episode

About Melinda Wheelwright Brown

Melinda W. Brown loves connecting with faithful women of all ages trying to find joy, even amid life's thorny patches. She is dedicated to helping women have the resources, support, and courage to face their modern struggles, and spends much of her time working with non-profit organizations. She is currently serving on the board of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, and also works closely with Fight the New Drug.

She has a passion for gospel study and enjoys burrowing into rabbit holes in her reading and research. In April 2020, she released her first book, Eve and Adam: Discovering the Beautiful Balance, with Deseret Book, all royalties of which benefit non-profits supporting women.

Mindy has lived around the country--Northern California, Boston, North Carolina, and Seattle--and now calls Provo home. She and her husband Doug have four grown children, two in-law children, and two (soon-to-be-three) precious grandbabies. When they aren't adoring those little ones, they enjoy playing games, visiting national parks, and exploring the beaches of South Carolina together.

Connect with Mindy online @brave.like.eve.

Eve and Adam: Discovering the Beautiful Balance

Eve and Adam, Finding the Beautiful Balance by Melinda Wheelwright Brown

Waiting for the Go-Ahead

When Mindy graduated from college, she happily sublimated her own professional goals to be a stay-at-home mom while her husband attended medical school. Barely in her twenties, Mindy figured she had plenty of time to raise a family before she might eventually go to business school, embark on a career, or start a business of her own. As the years passed by, though, she wondered when she would get her chance.

it's not that she didn't know what to do or have the energy to do it. Mindy had plenty of business ideas, and as her children grew, so did her availability. But every idea came with a prompting to let it go.

Mindy remembers, "I would get such a clear impression from the spirit just saying, 'That's a great idea. You would do a great job with that. Yes, you'd probably love it, but that's just not what I need you to do right now.'"

Disappointed, but obedient, she repeatedly shelved entrepreneurial thoughts and threw herself into volunteer work and hobbies.

Melinda Wheelwright Brown writing

Mindy working at her desk.

Turning to Mother Eve for Help

Just prior to getting the business inspiration she needed and the approval from the Lord she wanted, Mindy found herself in the midst of a family struggle that coincided with her own questions about gender inequality.

Having spent years helping women via various charitable organizations, she grew increasingly frustrated at the discrepancy between what she believes our Heavenly Parents want for their daughters and the experiences that so many actually have here on this earth. From the victimization and exploitation of females through sexual assault to the devastation caused by the pornography industry and several other gender-gap issues in between, Mindy could be patient no longer. She wanted answers and she wanted change.

In a tear-filled moment of desperation, she turned to a painting of Mother Eve and asked for help. Through the painting, Eve responded, "I thought you'd never ask."

The Brown family riding bikes on the beach

Melinda and her family.

The Business of Writing a Book

Mindy is now a published author, public speaker, and creator of a growing social media community, but the business itself did not take shape right away. At first, Mindy just wanted answers for herself and for her posterity. Only after 18-months of research coupled with discovering that other people shared her concerns did Mindy know for sure that she needed to write a book.

That realization, however, created a new problem. Mindy had never written a book, nor did she have a platform to prop it on--something the publishing industry generally requires of new authors. She pressed forward anyway.

When she finally showed her finished work to Deseret Book, the publisher indeed commented, "This isn't how we do this." Unshaken, Mindy thought, "Well, you'd be amazed at how many miracles I've seen in the last three years of this, and so I'm just going to see what miracle comes today and then we’ll see what miracle comes tomorrow."

So that's what she did.

Confident she'd been divinely guided through the project and that the Lord wanted her to share the answers she found, Mindy persevered through the publishing process and witnessed many more miracles both personally and professionally throughout.

Now a year later, this book may not immediately solve all of the problems women face today, this patient mother has created a resource and introduced a new narrative that is already nudging our culture closer to the truth of what our heavenly parents intend for their daughters--a need for which she might have missed if she had pursued previous business ideas rather than staying grounded in her volunteer work.

I can be patient.

As long as I really trust that something great is coming that will finally help me feel like I got to do my thing too, that I didn't just help everybody else do their thing."

- Melinda Wheelwright Brown -

What You'll Learn in this Episode

  • Why Mindy decided to research Eve and how she feels about Adam
  • The patience required to let other opportunities pass by
  • How researching Mother Eve helped her to be a better mother
  • Why understanding Eve's role in the garden has brought her more joy
  • The process of writing a book
  • How she got her book published without a book proposal or a platform
  • How Mindy held herself accountable for completing the project
  • A blessing she could not see for herself in taking this journey
  • Most Importantly: How she has seen the Lord’s hand in my career

Mentioned in this Interview

Eve and Adam: Discovering the Beautiful Balance. A fresh and insightful perspective into the perfect plan of happiness.

Brave.like.Eve
. An online community that supports women and nudges culture toward what our heavenly parents intended for their sons and daughters.

The Elizabeth Smart Foundation, Bringing hope and ending the victimization and exploitation of sexual assault through prevention, recovery, and advocacy.

Days for Girls. A world where periods are never a problem.

Fight the New Drug. A non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

Deseret Book. The market leader in the publishing, distribution and retailing of faith-based books, music, DVDs, religious art and home décor, and other lifestyle products serving, in particular, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Download the Transcript

 Patiently Waiting for Her Chance to Make a Difference

Guest: Melinda Wheelwright Brown

Shelley Hunter: You're listening to The Faithful Career Moves podcast. I'm your host Shelley Hunter, and this is a place where we talk to people who recognize the Lord's hand in their lives and, specifically, in their careers.

Thank you for joining me on Episode 17 of the Faithful Career Moves podcast. I'm really excited to share this interview with you today. I had the pleasure of talking to Melinda Wheelwright Brown. She's the author of Eve and Adam: Discovering the Beautiful Balance. Her book is available at Deseret Book, and you can also learn more on social media if you look for Brave Like Eve.

Here's a little bit more about Mindy. 

She loves connecting with faithful women of all ages, trying to find joy amid life's stormy patches. She's dedicated to helping women have the resources, support, and courage to face their modern struggles and spends much of her time working with non-profit organizations. She's currently serving on the board of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and also works closely with Fight the New Drug. She has a passion for gospel study and enjoys burrowing into rabbit holes in her reading and research.

As I mentioned, in April 2020, she released her first book Eve and Adam: Discovering the Beautiful Balance. In addition to chatting with her about this book, since this is a faith-based career podcast, I wanted to learn more about the process of starting a business as an author because, in case you didn't know it, writing a book takes a lot of work, but promoting it probably takes even more. For all of you out there who say things like, "One day I'm going to write a book," I just think you should know what you're getting yourself in for.

Let's start at the beginning where I asked Mindy to share what it is she does for her career.

Melinda Wheelwright Brown: I am a writer and a presenter. I speak frequently at things, and I have an online presence, an Instagram account that I try to stay active in, and I'm growing a community there. I do that with my daughter and my daughter-in-law. That's the fun new thing. That's a little out of my comfort zone, more than the other things, actually.

Shelley: I love that. I listened to a podcast you did with Morgan Jones, the All In podcast, which I love. One thing she said is she said you're a newcomer on the scene. I think she said something like you came out of nowhere.

Melinda: That was a comical moment, and she said, "Where did you come from?" I said, "I don't know. Provo?” I did have a life before that for 49 and a half years, so I didn't come from nowhere.

Shelley: Tell me about that.

Melinda: I am married to Doug, my husband of over 30 years now. We have four children. Our youngest is a freshman in college now, so our nest is empty. Two of them are married with a little boy each and one of them is about to have another, so we'll have our third grandson before long here. Super fun stage of life, I love being a grandmother. I have a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in economics. The truth is when I was studying for my undergraduate, my husband and I were married at the beginning of our junior years. By the time I was starting my senior year, I had had our first daughter and I needed the fastest route out of there that I could find with a degree. So I had changed my major multiple times, but it ended up that economics was the quickest way for me to wrap up and graduate with my husband before he went off to begin medical school.

Economics was something that I absolutely loved, and it really just came very, very naturally to me. My father was a professor in business and did a ton of different consulting things and just really, really active in the world of business and entrepreneurship and manufacturing and forecasting, things like that. At our house, we just grew up with a business mindset and an economics mindset. That was just how we were raised, and so when I started taking all of these different courses at the university, that was the place where I thought, "Oh, this is so easy, I get this. This is just the way I think."

By that point, because we already had our first daughter, I was looking forward to, mostly, being a full-time mom at home, but I had always had a lot of fun ideas and different businesses I would like to do. I think I always thought, "Oh, eventually I'll go to business school." That's what most of my siblings have done, and I just figured that there's a lot of time. I'll figure out things to do all along the way.

We went off to medical school, and that consumed me, actually, for several years, just supporting him and his studies and raising our family and all of those things, and I loved it. I really, really enjoyed that.

Shelley: I love the perspective that there's a lot of time.

Melinda: I really did feel that way. I don't know where I got that from. It's not that I'd necessarily seen firsthand, women doing things at different stages of their life. I think I just felt like here I was, 21, already graduated from college, had my first child. It just seemed like I had a whole lot of time ahead of me.

Shelley: You're a stay-at-home mom, then you started doing other stuff?

Melinda: Yes.

Shelley: Tell me about that.

Melinda: Actually, it was very interesting because for many years while I was raising our children and our children, they span about 10 or 11 years, so when I was finishing up having my final high schoolers, my older two were already married and moving on quite a bit. We have this big gap between our two pairs of kids. There were lots of times, I think especially after the two oldest graduated from high school and had moved on. I felt like I had a little bit more discretionary time. Lots of different ideas and opportunities came out that I thought, "Oh, I have a great idea for a business. I'm going to do this or I'm going to do that."

I started going down those lines of inquiry and opportunities, and it was really interesting because repeatedly, I would even say maybe even a dozen different times, I would get such a clear impression from the spirit just saying, "That's a great idea. You would do a great job with that. Yes, you'd probably love it, but that's just not what I need you to do right now." A few of those times, it was actually really hard. I really had to decide, "Okay, I can be patient. As long as I really trust that something great is coming that will finally help me feel like I got to do my thing too, I didn't just help everybody else do their thing."

One thing that had really bothered me, I guess, it would be fair to characterize it that way, is when I would hear full-time stay at home mothers say things like, "Well, I know that I'm making a difference because I'm raising children who will go out and make a difference." I just thought, "Wow, that just does not sit well with me. I don't want to be a holding place, a middle man, space holder. I want to make a difference. I want to do something that really has a far-reaching effect, not just my parents, not just my husband, and not just my children." I was really looking for that opportunity and wanting that chance, but I was also trying really hard to listen to the spirit and be patient and wait until the right thing came along at the right time.

I let opportunities pass by that would have been fun, but in the meantime, I will say, I was doing a lot of things in the nonprofit sector that gave me a lot more flexibility, so I could do as much or as little as I was able to with my family's schedule. That really felt like my side gig during those years.

Shelley: As a stay-at-home mom, you get plenty of opportunities to volunteer in the classroom and at church, but I think you did some things a little beyond that.

Melinda: A little bit, yes. I actually got pretty burned out of volunteering in the classroom pretty quickly.

[laughter]

By the time my youngest ones were in high school, I had to remind them I used to do PTA. I don't do PTA anymore, but I used to do PTA.

Shelley: And I was good at it!

Melinda: That's right, exactly. When I was young and felt like I wanted to sit on the floor, I could do that. I got really involved with several different organizations that I felt were making a good, powerful difference in lifting and helping support women, both nationally and internationally. I've worked with groups like Days for Girls. I love what they do. I work closely with a group that does a lot in India right now for that organization, which is terrific. I've done a lot with Fight the New Drug, which I'm just a huge fan of them. I feel like so much of the challenges that women face, really, is rooted in the issues of pornography, so I felt like I'd love to chop down the tree, instead of just trimming branches all the time.

I do a lot with that on a regular basis for several years now, and I work with the Elizabeth Smart Foundation currently, which of course, they just have an amazing platform. Elizabeth is spectacular and is really making a difference, helping survivors thrive with the rest of their lives. I love that group and others like that. That was always where I could really put my energy and efforts without having to be away from the home full time or anything like that. That brought me a ton of joy during those years even when I felt like it wasn't my time to pursue one of my own big ideas.

Shelley: I'll definitely argue, you were obviously making a big difference. 

Melinda: Oh, thank you.

Shelley: It sounds like in your heart, though, you wanted something to be yours?

Melinda: Yes. I didn't totally know what that was. I really think I thought it would be some sort of a business venture. I was also during that time, getting more and more involved with my extended family's nonprofit foundation that I did some training, I took a course to be qualified to do that and was managing that with my father and my daughter-in-law, the three of us do that together. That felt like that was a good place to be helping and making a difference as well and just really getting so much more informed about the challenges that people were facing in the world.

Again, it always came back to women's issues for me, that's really where my passion was, but I never thought I would have written a church book, as we say, just really a religious look at a topic having to do with women's issues.

Shelley: How did the book come about?

Melinda: After all these years of feeling like it wasn't time, it wasn't time, just be patient, I actually started to get really comfortable with being patient and I started taking up all these different hobbies. I was practically a full-time tennis player at one point. I really enjoyed that. I had several great years doing that and I started taking a painting class. I love fine art and collecting artwork and I just really wanted to try my hand at being an oil painter.

I had dug into this and I was making nice progress and just loving it and it was so fun, and one day I was pulling out all my paints to practice and I had such a profound moment, where I now know what the Lord calls me because He said, "Sweetie, this is now a distraction and it's actually now time to do what I've prepared you and laid out in your course for you to do. You can pick up the paints later." 

That was really surprising to me and I thought, "Oh." Honestly, I put the paints away. I stopped getting them out and I thought, "Okay, I think I know what I'm supposed to be digging into."

Shelley: Really?

Melinda: Yes. It was because a couple of different big things in my life had been going on that had begun to emerge together, all in this realm of women's issues and deciding it was time for me to get to the bottom of it for myself to figure out why is there such a discrepancy between what I believe our heavenly parents plan is for their daughters and what their actual lived experience is, why is there this gap that I see? If there is a gap, then I want to figure out how is that fair? That is really bothersome to me. If there isn't a gap, if I have been misunderstanding what the actual doctrine is and what they actually feel about us and what our roles are, then I think it's time I know that and then I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, if that's the case.

Then simultaneously with that, we were having an extended family situation that caused me to do a lot of really deep pondering and I had a profound experience with the painting of Eve that hangs in my office. In desperation one day and in tears, I just said out loud to this painting, I said, "Oh, Eve, can you help me?" It just felt as if she leaned out of her frame and said, "Yes, I thought you'd never ask." That was really where I took such a deep dive into theology.

I've always been interested and as I'd gotten older I'd gotten more serious about scripture study and research type of things, but that really begun a period of about two years where my research of trying to find every single thing I could that had been written or said about her and her story just consumed me. It was a full-time job, and it's what I thought about 24 hours a day, I dreamed about it. It was totally driving me.

As I did that more and more and would start to have these conversations with people and so many of them, it just felt like we're coming out of the woodwork. It wasn't like I'd hung up my shingle saying, "I'm an Eve specialist, come talk to me." It was things popping up where I'd say, "Oh, you know what, I just had that thought and I think I read something that you're going to find really interesting." That I just realized that I was one of literally millions of women thinking and pondering and praying about these same questions.

I did feel that I had been very specifically prepared and let along this path, that the doors were going to begin opening and I needed to decide, "Am I walking through these doors and doing this or am I going to step aside and let somebody else do it because the time has come and this is going to happen."

Shelley: One thing that I love that you've shared here is that I really do believe the stay-at-home years, the volunteering years, they really are career training.

Melinda: Absolutely.

Shelley: You've proven that because it was bugging you all along, the women's issues, it was festering for you. The second thing I have to say is, this makes me laugh a little bit because I can't stand economics. I really struggled in college with that class. Here's what I find interesting, the reason economics is so hard for me is because to me there is no one answer. Two plus two is always four in math, but in econ it's this, unless this happens, but then also that could happen. There's so many variables that it makes me think your mind was prepared for this kind of research.

Melinda: I think that's absolutely true, that's funny that you describe it that way. I think you're very insightful to see that. In fact, as a child, my biggest hobby and interest was detective work. If I could have been a detective, that's what I would have done. In fact, I wanted to be one of Alfred Hitchcock's three investigators because oh man, that spoke to my heart.

When I started digging, it did feel like I'm going to be a detective, I'm going to figure this out and I'm going to find all the clues and I'm just going to trust that it's all hidden out there somewhere, but very possibly in plain sight and nobody has just been able to gather them all in the way that has satisfied me. I'm going to guess that there are a lot of other people who haven't been satisfied with how they've been gathered, so I'm going to take a stab at it.

Shelley: I love it. For people who haven't read the book, can you give me one or two takeaways, just teasers about that book, and then I'll ask you more about the career side of it.

Melinda: The book is called Eve and Adam: Discovering the Beautiful Balance. I started out really believing I was writing a book all about Eve. Adam's name probably wasn't even going to be in the title if it hadn't taken all the twists and turns that it inevitably did, and that always happen with things like this. His name was not in my working title, but what I discovered is it really was a study in the grand plan, the great plan of happiness, so much bigger than just Eve. I do not say that disrespectfully, oh my goodness, I love and honor and revere Eve so much, but it was so much more than just her piece of the story. Her piece really enlightens all of the pieces and helps them all fit together.

When I began to realize what a crucial partnership they had, what a beautifully interdependent and balanced partnership they had, then it became more apparent that it has to be about both of them, but I'm definitely still favoring telling the story from her perspective because we've heard it from his perspective a million times and it was right to share it through her eyes. That the balance I was really writing about was so much more than just the balance between men and women, that it was the balance between comfort and discomfort and certainty and risk and knowns and unknowns and even good and evil and light and dark. All these different elements where balance come together and really create this incredibly, spectacularly designed plan that is just perfect.

I just now have such a better, healthier perspective of what this middle portion of our lives, this mortality piece is all about. The process has made me a happier person and I hope that people who read the book and who it speaks to, also feel like understanding it better, helps them to be a happier person on a daily basis.

Shelley: I love that. I want to shift gears and talk about the business of being an author now. Often writing a book comes more with having a platform and then people want the book from you, but you went the other direction.

Melinda: Absolutely. I did it the other way, that's right.

Shelley: You did. Tell me the process at a high level, what did you do to go about getting this book on the shelves?

Melinda: In those first two years of research, it probably wasn't until the 18 month mark that I was really beginning to feel confident that there was a book in this. Even at that point, I would say about 18 months I thought, "Well, maybe it's a book for my posterity," which is very worth doing because I want them to understand what I understand. I want my daughters and my granddaughters and all the women in my life to understand their place better and not suffer some of the pain and discomfort I've suffered in not recognizing it better.

Then I would say it about the 19 and 20 and 21 month marks, I started to think, "I think there are a lot of people who would really like to read this book." Like, "This is going to be a good book." I don't mean that to sound arrogant whatsoever, just feeling like I'm finding things that other people are looking for.

Shelley: Yes, you find all the nuggets and you're going to give it to us, instead of us having to do that same work? 

Melinda: That's right. Yes, exactly and being an economist, that was important to me. I believe in specialization of labor and don't reinvent the wheel right? That was a big piece of it. Then I began a full year of the writing process and I felt like I didn't know enough about what the final form would look like. There was so much faith involved here at the beginning, that it was going to come together and I was going to figure this out as I went along, that I didn't really feel like I wanted to go out and pursue a book proposal or a signing deal or anything like that.

Through that process, I also felt like I don't feel like it's a rush, I know I need to keep at it, but I don't feel like it's anybody pushing me like, "Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up." It's just a steady keep going, don't stop. I didn't want to make any sort of agreement that then would cause me to feel rushed and not be pleased and feel like the final product it was supposed to be. I felt so much like this is between the Lord and me, I don't need a publisher telling me what to do right now. I'm just going to figure this out first and then we'll see what happens. I really did get it to a very final manuscript form.

I knew that I would have a little bit of assistance getting my foot in the door at the very beginning, because my parents had been involved in lots of different job opportunities and church service opportunities, that I could probably get my toe in the door. I also knew that that wasn't going to help me if it couldn't stand up on its own, right? I could quickly be shown the revolving door right back out, but that would at least help.

I definitely did surprise the publishers and they thought, "Wow, where did you come from? This isn't how we do this." Yet, I also felt like, "Well, you'd be amazed how many miracles I've seen in the last three years of this, and so I'm just going to see what miracle comes today and then we’ll see what miracle comes tomorrow." I just stuck around. There may have been times that they thought, "I wish she'd stop bugging us," but I just felt like, "I'm pretty sure that this is supposed to happen." It's not that I felt like it was supposed to happen through that avenue per se, but I knew that was the starting place and it worked out.

It was a long hard process. I would be the first to say it is so hard and that's probably a really hard way to do it. The beauty of that is everybody had warned me, they had said, "Once you get the publishing deal, the year of editing with your editors will actually be the most painful part," because you have so much invested in this and all of that. That actually wasn't the case in my situation because I had already put so much into it. My heart was so deeply woven through those pages and I had really tried hard to follow the spirit in doing it and I really felt like I was close as it turned out the publishers felt that way as well and we didn't need to do a lot of fine-tuning once we had the arrangement taking care of.

It went very quickly and it was actually rather painless. That part was great, but it is a hard thing and anything short of a clearly divine mission, in my opinion, would be a reason to go look for a different job.

Shelley: In my experience not a get rich quick scheme.

Melinda: No, that's really true. Actually, this part is probably a little bit different for a lot of the guests that you interview. My husband would say, "Well, you're so deep into the non-profit world it didn't occur to you that there could be money in this." I think that we both really thought that I was actually going to probably end up paying the publishers to publish it, that somehow this would end up costing us and surely we were never going to see a penny.

As it turns out we don't see a penny because it all is donated to non-profits that help women. It goes directly out and I can't tell you how much I love that. That is truly one of the greatest joys in my life. Every time I get to send those royalties out to a different organization, I always include a card explaining where they came from and that I believe that our glorious mother Eve is really pleased with their efforts to help lift her daughters. That just is really a wonderful happy thing. It's done very well and I've been able to help a lot of different organizations and it boggles the mind.

Shelley: I do get the feeling that you're just starting.

Melinda: Thank you. I hope that that's true. It has been a really interesting year. I've had great speaking opportunities in spite of COVID, which my book was released right at the beginning of the lockdown and it just was a real shame. I was so sorry to have so many different events cancelled and everything. Everything that turned down its head, but there's still been so many great opportunities. In a year of basically being home alone, it's amazing to me the literally thousands of friends I have made through our Brave Like Eve platform on Instagram. We've really made some wonderful connections there. We do feel like we are making a difference.

The whole point in deciding to suffer through the publishing process, I felt like I needed to nail down, at least, a couple of main points of why am I doing this? What is the point? Always the point has been to nudge our culture, to help it shift in a healthier direction and get closer to the truth of what our heavenly parents intend for their daughters. For us broadly to talk about it more accurately, more articulately and be able to help the women in our lives and men and our sons, recognize the beautiful inter-dependence that it's intended to be going on between the two halves of humanity, men and women.

Shelley: What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking, "I want to write a book"?

Melinda: Dig into your topic and be sure that you love it so much that you can spend a couple of years really eating and breathing and dreaming about it. I also think that your passion about the topic will really be contagious to others. You have to love it, it has to be something that speaks to you, it matters to you and then if it is, go for it.

I always live by this mantra of, "Well what's the very worst that can happen?" Then I think about what that is and, "Oh, okay, not so bad. I can do that." Then you just take the next step and think, "Well, anything short of that it's like a plus, so why not?" Just keep going.

Shelley: Keep going, I love it. Mindy before I move into my final questions, what haven't I asked you about a career as an author that I should have?

Melinda: Just in terms of things that were laid out ahead of time, the opportunities I had before were quite astonishing to look back on and recognize the Lord's hand moving the pieces all along the way. According to what was interesting to me, to where my desires were and my passions, it was as if He was always watching and saying, "Oh, well, if you're fascinated in that, great, let's give you this opportunity, because maybe this will work out later for you if you would like to try this."

It felt like I always had a big role in choosing what those interests were and then if I gave it my best for the right reasons, because I wanted to make a difference, there was always something He could do to work with that. That was a beautiful thing to just see play out and it continues to play out that way.

Shelley: For people who are struggling to figure out what their calling is or even just a career choice that they should make, look back, you've explained from the beginning of wanting to be a detective and then an econ major and then women's issues. If you look back, there really is a pattern?

Melinda: Yes, absolutely and you can see it hindsight. You can't see it looking forward, but the more you practice watching for it, I think then you do actually, begin to recognize it. For sure, one of the secrets, I think, is keep trying new things, until you find your passion and your space.

For instance with non-profits, if you spend six months working with one and feel like, "I like what I learn, I've learned some good things but I think I'm ready to go tangent from here," that's fine. That's totally fine. It's amazing what you'll land on. These days one of the things I'm doing actually, with a lot of my time is I'm studying Biblical Hebrew, which I never would have thought. Before the book project, not in a million years would I have thought that would have held interest to me.

As it turned out in the book research, I spent a whole lot of time learning about Hebrew and I didn't expect that as much either and then once I was done with that and had just a little window of time open up for me, it was amazing a couple of doors in quick succession opened that it was apparent by that point, "Oh, I think I'm supposed to look into Biblical Hebrew." It turns out I love it and it comes very naturally to me and it feels like, "Wow." Some days I think, "What is going to happen next with this? Why am I speaking Hebrew?" It's thrilling. Yes, isn't that fun?

Shelley: Yes. You just keep walking through the doors. I like that point about leaving a non-profit, I think I would feel guilty.

Melinda: No, that's the thing with non-profit work that I think is an important thing to wrap your head around is you don't feel guilty. You just know that every day of my life I'm going to be helping somebody and making a difference and maybe, on certain days I'm helping this group and on others I'm helping this one and on others I'm helping this one and sometimes the best thing of all is to change and let them get some new blood and you go to a new place, where you're going to learn a new skill set.

Shelley: I really wouldn't have thought of it that way, I think that's really helpful. Tell me about a leap of faith you had to take to get where you are now.

Melinda: Telling people you're going to write a book, for me, was a big leap of faith. If it'd been up to me, I probably would have opted to not breathe a word of it to anyone, until I had a book in my hand to show them. It just would have felt more comfortable to me. I crossed a bridge where I thought I'm going to need to tell people, in terms of having some accountability because this is going to get really hard and I don't want to give up. On the strong days I knew I'm not supposed to give up, I am supposed to keep going. It would be like a good safety net for me to, not exactly broadcast. I was never broadcasting it, but to say the words out loud and to tell enough people that, at least, every few days, somebody would say, "Hey, how's your book going?" And I need to be able to answer and say, "Well, I wrote eight pages, thank you," or something like that. That was important to me.

Shelley: Have there been unexpected blessings, something you couldn't see for yourself in embarking on this journey?

Melinda: So many blessings, it's incredible. If I can be a little more personal, actually, one of the most special serendipitous thing timing wise with this, is that I couldn't have predicted when I began some of the twists and turns that our family life would have taken. My youngest daughter who's a freshman in college now, in the last couple of years has began to tread her own path and that has had its challenging times, for sure. I didn't think that was going to be part of my story, although I looked at it even 10 years ago, I used to say now statistically, it would be unusual if four out of four children stayed on the path I carved for them.

As this began, the first few months of something like that, are definitely the hardest. I think parents go through a grieving process that's very real. That's a painful place to be, but it was made so much gentler for me to have done all this research and to have thought about it to the depth that you have to when you're writing about it, for a general audience, but also to have shared it with those who are very closest to me. In those really hard days at the beginning of this new direction with my daughter, those that I am most revealing to of my deepest soul thoughts, were all in a position to just put their arms around me and say, "You wrote a book about this, you know the story, you can do this and you understand this big picture."

In fact it was my daughter Candice that I worked with in Brave Like Eve Instagram account, that she would say again and again, she'd say, "Mom, you wrote a book about this, you can do this, you channel Eve, you can do this." That's really what helped us through that and I'm really happy to say that we're just in a healthy place with this daughter now and we had a few very rough months, but it's going to be great. It's all going to work out and she needs to figure things out for herself and it's going to be okay. We have a great relationship and she knows how much I love her. She knows how I see the world and I understand where she's coming from. She needs to try things out, that's what mortality is about.

Shelley: Hard as it is though, you're so right. We do as moms, want to carve that path to keep them safe.

Melinda: Yes, but what really matters is our relationships and how we love each other and support each other. Everything works out in the long run. The Lord can use everything for our good, I believe that 100%.

Shelley: I do too. Alright. My last question then, how have you seen the hand of God in your career?

Melinda: Every step of the way. Every step of the way I've had the opportunities that have made this all come together for me and I hadn't even mentioned earlier about my patriarchal blessing, specifically talks about writing. For so many years I thought I'll eventually write my personal history or whatever and my mother used to frequently say, because she was one of the few people who probably had read my patriarchal blessing almost as much as I had. She would say, "When are you going to write your book?" I always thought, "Well, I haven't figured out what I would write a book on, mom, I don't know."

It has been really sweet to see that I had the opportunities to prepare me all along the way and so many of those opportunities actually involved my parents, which was a huge blessing because it brought us so much closer together as adults, which has been really really sweet. Some of my deepest most meaningful growth and learning conversations have been with my parents, when they were in a position to really help me search for truth and understanding.

During the time I was writing the book, they were serving as temple presidents and president and matron and that couldn't have been more fortuitous. I'm so grateful that the Lord found the way to involve them in this part of my journey because that has been very sweet.

Shelley: What a story of patience. You wanted to do more and you knew you could do more, but I look back and I think that girl who wanted to solve mysteries you've been picking up clues for years.

Melinda: I think so. I think that's a good way to describe it, that is how it has felt. It's been great.

Shelley: Mindy, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Melinda: Oh, it's been a pleasure, wonderful. Thank you.

Shelley: I'm so thankful that Melinda Wheelwright Brown was able to join me today. She may have come out of nowhere, where Deseret Book is concerned, but it's clear that this book and her business have been a work in progress for many many years. 

If you are in the middle of your career journey and you haven't quite figured out what the Lord has in mind for you, then perhaps you should follow Mindy's advice and start exploring. Though her journey now looks like a perfect script where all of the storylines come together like a great screen play, even she couldn't see for herself what the Lord had in mind when she was still in the rough draft phase, but she kept serving.

She volunteered and pondered and listened to the spirit when other ideas came up. Take heart, take that personal inventory, ask for help, ask the Lord and I bet you'll be amazed at the story you will one day be able to tell and I can't wait to hear about it.

Thank you for listening to The Faithful Career Moves podcast. A place where we talk to people who have seen the hand of God in their lives and specifically in their careers. If you want to learn more or you know someone you think I should interview, connect with me at social media @faithfulcareermoves or on my website at faithfulcareermoves.com.

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Shelley Hunter

About the author

Founder of Gift Card Girlfriend, Shelley is a prolific content creator and personal branding expert. For the past 20 years, she's also been coaching people on how to up-level their careers, return to the workforce, and start side gigs of their own. Shelley is a work-at-home mom who left a traditional career as a programmer to be unapologetically home with her kids.

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