We had the good fortune of connecting with Shelly Crowell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shelly, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
My name is Shelly Crowell. I am from a mixture of 2 small towns in the south. Iuka, MS, has an average census of 3000 people and is where I spent my childhood years. Cherokee, AL, which only has a population of less than 900 is where I would grow up during my teen years and ultimately graduate from high school. Coming from small towns, there was not much around to do. This was in the 70’s and 80’s. Family was very important and I grew up spending many hours with my grandparents and cousins. My grandparents worked us to death (LOL) gardening, chores, and taking care of things on the farm. I remember thinking how I could not wait to grow up and move away to get a break from all the work, but I had no idea just how much my childhood would impact the woman that I am today.
My background has a huge impact on who I am today! I experienced child abuse and molestation as a child and watched my mother suffer from domestic violence at the hands of my stepfather. My mother died when I was just 12 of cancer. I was often told that I would not be anything when I grew up because I had no mother! Can you imagine telling that to a child! I would later experience date rape and domestic violence from an ex. My environment and what happened to me as a child truly influenced the way I saw men and relationship and led to many dark days.
My father was a very hard working blue collar man. He didn’t have much to give me, but what he did give me was my work ethic! In fact, both of my parents did, as well as my grandparents. They taught me how in order to achieve anything, you must put in the time and work. It is often not easy, but really is anything easy that is worth having? I learned that no matter your background, race, age, gender, financial status, or anything else, you can achieve what you want and be who you choose to be. I learned not to let my circumstances dictate where I am going! Perseverance and endurance are key! Patience and expectancy also go hand in hand. Even when you have failures-which we all do and will experience, it is no sign to quit. Just step back, take a breath, reorganize, plan and move onward! Be flexible, adaptable, and a change agent!
The many qualities of how I was raised is what caused me in my 40s to stand up and take authority and control over my life! Self-love and care is the basis of being the best you can be in every area of your life. I have failed and struggled at different times but those very qualities that I have spoken about above are what lead me to have 4 degrees in nursing, be a published authors of several books, a public speaker, leader, motivator and an advocator!
As I prepare to turn 50 this year, I am very thankful for my upbringing-good and bad! Every moment shaped me into who I am and who I strive even now to be! There is nothing you cannot do, Choose to let your background push you forward as a victor and not a victim! All things are possible if you believe! God bless!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My career path was not easy. At 19 I suffered a miscarriage which ultimately caused me to drop out of RN school. I went on a couple months later to start LPN school. My plan was to graduate and immediately go back into the RN program. Unfortunately, my fiancé was killed 4 weeks before my nursing graduation, so I did not go back! This was 1993! It would take me 9 years before I decided to go back. By this time, I had a 5-month-old, 2-year-old, and 5-year-old. I also worked full-time and had a drug addicted husband. Somehow, I made it through 2 years to graduate with my RN! It was one of the HARDEST seasons of my life. Four years later I would graduate with my bachelor’s degree in nursing. Every degree came with more lessons to learn and more obstacles to overcome! I would start in 2008 on my master’s degree but would half to drop out due to my personal circumstances. It would take TWO more times of starting and stopping and 13 years later before graduating with my master’s in nursing education/teaching/learning in May of 2021! Walking across that stage was an almost 30-year dream come true! Where I am in my career today is amazing in comparison to where I started and where I dreamed, I could be! Never give up! Never stop moving forward! Never stop dreaming! You can overcome. I am a witness to this!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in a beautiful city that rest on the Tennessee River! I recently had a friend come spend New Year’s with me from out of town. We have a beautiful place to go and eat related to scenery. There is an amazing restaurant called Rattlesnake Saloon that is literally built in the side of a cave. The scenery is incredible, and you can only get to it by horse or riding down the hill in the back of a truck! We also have a gorgeous Marriott that offers several restaurants including one called 360 Grill that looks like a spaceship and towers in the sky with a view of the river. Parks, fishing, hiking trails, along with shopping and great outings make for a fun time. If it’s the first of the month, then Fridays will entail “First Friday,” A beautiful walk in downtown Florence, AL on the cobblestone with live music and multiple vendors out in the street make for a great time! And finally, the summers provide 2 great music festivals W.C. Handy blues and jazz festival and the Helen Keller festival. Both were born locally, and June and July provide a couple of amazing weeks full of events, live music, parades, plays, and a good time. There is always something to do or nothing to do depending on your time, interest, and choosing!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To be honest, my success comes a lot from those around me who pushed me to first learn who I was and decide if that was the person I wanted or needed to be. I would have to say that the most influential people in my life over the last 25 years have been my spiritual parents, Drs. Robert & Janice Turner over New Birth Ministries in Florence, AL. They taught me to look to God to see who I was created to be. That my past does not dictate who I am or who I was meant to be. That my life could be turned from a series of unfortunate events to a life unlike I have ever dreamed. They loved me when I was unlovable and taught me to chase after my dreams and destiny. I will be forever thankful and grateful for who they have been in my life. I would also say that my family, my children and my close circle of friends ( you know who you are) have pushed me to keep going when I wanted to throw in the towel. I am blessed beyond measure!
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