Hi Friend! I’m Ahna.
An imperfectly empowered woman, thriving by the grace of Jesus and a lot of coffee.
I am a health coach, podcast host, DIY pro, and wanna-be Wonder Woman sans the 20-inch waist, hero hair, and superhuman strength (although I can carry 15 bags of groceries in one trip).
One fall night in 2018 I flopped onto the living room couch and let out a tired sigh. It had been another long shift as an emergency room nurse practitioner, juggling patient care while navigating the ever-changing processes and protocols of a medical system that offered little to no support for its exhausted providers.
I had been practicing in the ER for nearly 8 years, having gotten my first Masters in Nursing from Johns Hopkins University in adult/geriatric critical care, and ever the lifelong student, got a second Masters several years later; this time with a specialty in family medicine. By 2017 I was one of only a few dual-certified emergency medicine nurse practitioners in the nation.
Unable to say no to a good challenge, I had also been recruited as part of a core team to launch two certified stroke programs from the ground up – one at each hospital I worked in. Due to a passion for research (thank you Mr. Hopkins) and a naturally administrative disposition, I had the honor of serving what would then become an internationally recognized stroke program as the assistant medical director – a position typically held by a physician.
I was proud of where I had come but often found myself tired of where I was.
Tired of treating emergent conditions that were preventable. Tired of treating emergent conditions that were deemed emergent by Google and not sound medical judgment. Tired of a bureaucratic system that discouraged independent thought and required compliance regardless of how many inanely dotted t’s and crossed i’s it entailed.
I must have been voicing these complaints out loud, because my husband, Zach, sitting opposite the sofa I had unceremoniously flopped on, looked up from his book and said, “Well, you could always make your millions blogging about our fixer-upper renovations.”
In addition to the professional pursuits previously mentioned, the last 8 years had also resulted in the lives of our 3 children and a surprising discovery that Zach and I had a talent for designing and renovating fixer-upper homes. This particular conversation was taking place during the second of our three fixer-upper adventures.
I turned my head slightly without lifting it from the pillow. “What’s a blog?”
As I had no social media or inclination toward media in general, he was not surprised by this question and explained that the websites I visited when researching how-to tutorials were actually blogs, written by individuals like myself, many of whom made a full-time income doing so.
If for no other reason than the fact that I desperately needed a fun outlet for my creative brain, the DIY lifestyle blog, Hammers N Hugs, was born.
In October 2018 my first blog post went live. I spent countless early morning hours working on my passion project before the troops descended; Gracelyn age 6, Caleb age 4, and Lillian age 1.
Not only did I fall in love with the quiet of the early morning hour, but I also fell in love with the world of digital scrapbooking and sharing our family’s DIY adventures.
In the year of COVID, specifically August 2020, I stepped into the digital health and wellness space for the first time, becoming a coach for the FASTer Way To Fat Loss, a virtual fitness & nutrition program founded by a classmate of mine from college – Amanda Tress.
In January 2021, Hammers N Hugs became a legally recognized business, and I stepped away from bedside medicine to blog and coach full-time.
Between blog readers, social media followers, and fitness clients I had found a community of women who, despite being at different stages of life, were just like me; women hustling hard to live well and thrive with the time and resources they had.
Over these years, one thing became abundantly clear – women were overwhelmed. Pressed in from all sides to meet the expectations of living a beautiful life whether that was perceived in one’s home or one’s body; tired, unworthy, irrelevant, and unseen.
And I could relate.
English novelist, Jane Austen, wrote that “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”
Being a mother is one of the greatest joys I have ever known, but it is also one of the most exhausting roles I have ever held.
The energy, enthusiasm, and vitality you once felt for life can become but a faded memory.
Having Instagram for the first time in my life I watched in awe as fellow female fitness influencers inspired the virtual world toward better health looking more like air-brushed Victoria’s Secret models than the frazzled, busy moms they claimed to be.
It didn’t take long to feel as though my $16 Amazon shorts, flat mom boobs, and cramped workout space that consisted of a yoga mat haphazardly placed in the center of my home office were inadequate.
From a cramped, outdated kitchen to the extra baby weight that seems impossible to lose, the result of the inherently “busy nothings” of motherhood can leave one feeling tired and out of control.
But my friend, your story matters, and you are loved.
Despite years of medical education at one of the top schools in the world, societal messaging was affecting my perception of what living healthy and well really meant. Not only was social media negatively influencing my perspective, but I was shocked to realize that the misperception of how to live happy and healthy was as much being influenced by the health and wellness industry itself.
Per the industry’s standards and a stroll down Amazon’s book aisle, healthy living is primarily focused on one’s physical well-being with a large helping of mental health and a smattering of spiritual wellness sprinkled on top. But in truth, living well takes more than eating vegetables, fasted cardio, and positive thinking.
Thriving with health and happiness requires a holistic approach – assessing, diagnosing, and optimizing all 5 pillars of human health – emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual – of which I could not find a single book on the market let alone one specifically designed for women.
Here you will find practical, often research based strategies, to improve your.
Practical tools you can use to transform your life.
I am married to my DIY partner-in-crime,
I am mom to the cutest little construction crew you have ever seen – Gracelyn, Caleb, Lillian and our son to come through adoption.
You need to know that you were created in the image of God and from the moment you were knit together in your mother’s womb you were wholly valuable.
You were defined with infinite worth given to you by a Divine Creator to fulfill a glorious purpose.
And NO ONE one can add to or detract from that worth.
NOT EVEN YOU.
You cannot be redefined.
But you can be redeveloped.
Redeveloped to see your imperfection as perfectly beautiful and mistakes as part of your unmistakable uniqueness.
Redeveloped to run the race well for as long as you are given to reclaim a life of confidence, energy, freedom, and joy.