I was thrilled when Erika said I could publish her first post here on the blog.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! xo L (a Christian mom 😉 )

By Erika Ayn Finch

I’m writing this blog because of a Christian mom. And I’m not a Christian. Not a mom, either.
     L came into my life around 2010. We met on a fashion photoshoot — I as the editor and she as the hair stylist. We realized we were neighbors. Like right-across-the-street-I-see-you-get-the-newspaper-in-your-pajamas neighbors. When she and her husband moved in, I thought they were polygamists, a theory I devised after observing numerous young girls unload boxes and multiple refrigerators into the garage. As it turned out, they were not polygamists, but her husband was the pastor of the local Lutheran church, and the congregation helped them move. The refrigerators? He was also a home brewer (just like my husband).
     The four of us became fast friends, despite numerous differences that never seemed to bother any of us. We bonded over beer, wine, food, books, beauty and Costco. I co-hosted L’s baby shower. Then my husband and I moved out of the neighborhood, and not long after, L and her husband moved to California. There were tears when we said goodbye. But I wondered whether or not we’d keep in touch aside from the random Facebook likes every now and again. As it turned out, our friendship was deeper than I realized. We visited them in California, and they came back to Sedona with their young family. We drank beers in our garage one Sunday afternoon just like they had never left.
     But above all, L encouraged me to write for myself like no one has ever encouraged me. She started blogging when she moved to California. She blogs about God and about being a mom, and though these aren’t normally topics I would follow, I follow L. When I got the idea to blog my way through Europe last June, she was my biggest cheerleader, reading and commenting on my posts. As it turned out, I absolutely loved blogging. I loved being honest as opposed to putting on a diplomatic face. I loved writing about something other than northern Arizona, where I’m based. I loved the immediacy of it, the brevity, the ability to experiment with words, to be sexy, to be sarcastic.
     The blog ended when I returned to the red rocks and resumed my editor-in-chief duties. A couple of readers mentioned that they missed my voice, but L was more insistent. Persistent. She introduced me to Medium.com. She texted to ask when I was going to get back into it. I’ve never been goaded before. Turns out, I found it flattering. And I was flattered by the fact that someone cared enough about my voice that they weren’t going to give up on me. Who finds that level of encouragement when they are 40 years old?
     Thank you, L. This first one’s for you.

Erika Ayn Finch is a Northern Arizona based editor-in-chief, author of An Editor A-Blog, crazy cat lady, world traveler, foodie, francophile and all-around smartass.
Follow her on Medium at: @ErikaAyn