My Interview with Actress Ashley Sutton

Guys, this is my 5th interview for the ‘Faith and Entertainment’ series, BUT it’s my 1st interview with an actor in Hollywood.

Ashley Sutton has been in numerous movies & commercials, done voice-overs, and has worked with huge companies such as MAC cosmetics and the Jessa Hinton swimsuit line. She also worked with Jean-Claude Van Damme in the movie, Swelter.

This interview was so much fun! So encouraging. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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[Brent]  How do you continue to nurture your relationship with Jesus while managing/growing your career and travel schedule?

[Ashley]  This is probably the hardest question being young in the world today with social media. It’s easy to focus on self. So I’d have to say keeping people of faith around me regularly is absolutely critical. I also have learned to say ‘no’ a lot to take care of myself. I work to make it part of my self-care. This often includes lots of listening to worship music, and frequently asking, “What can I do (to connect with Jesus) RIGHT NOW?”

[Brent]  What is one of the most helpful pieces of life advice (outside of family) anyone has ever offered to you?

[Ashley]  Well, my acting manager is a Christian. And she’s constantly reminding me that everything is going to be OK. God is in control. And that it’ll all end up how He wants it to work out for me.

[Brent]  What does Ashley’s personal quiet time look like?  How do you connect with God best?

[Ashley]  It’s not consistent at all. It’s just so hard in career with no set schedule in the day. So having a regular routine is simply impossible. But I hike a lot. I look at the flowers and their intricate design. The sound of birds singing and other things God made. These remind me of him. He feels close when I’m enjoying his creation outdoors. I also listen pretty exclusively to Christian. Commuting in L.A. allots me plenty of time for this.

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[Brent]  We all experience constant hills and valleys, and the seasons in between. Regarding your most recent valley, can you describe how you weathered it? Prayer, scripture, wise counsel, music?

[Ashley]  I’ve been a Christian since I was very young. I grew up in the Catholic church, and then stepped away to my own church where I could better connect. In 2013, I was in a very bad accident on a movie set on a boat. I almost died! My faith changed after that day. I think often the only way to get out of our spiritual valleys (dark seasons) is to just keep moving. Do things that bring joy. Another thing is that quantity not same as quality when it comes to friendships. More is not better. A million Instagram followers won’t comfort or help me when I’m struggling as much as a small handful of really close friends. Struggle is OK, it builds character. (authentic comment coming) My accident actually showed me that I didn’t really like the person I was before the accident. Without hard times we wouldn’t be able to grow and be able to continue to work on becoming the best version of ourselves.

[Brent]  Is God teaching you anything new right now?

[Ashley]  Oh yes. Just the same lessons. To be patient! My default is to work ward to obtain goals quickly. So it seems God is regularly reminding me, ‘Work hard, but don’t be anxious about obtaining results immediately. Leave that part to me.’

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[Brent]  If you could travel back in time and witness any event recorded in the Bible, what would it be…and why?

[Ashley]  I’d have to say it would be when Jesus was sleeping in the boat during a storm and his disciples were freaking out. He asked them why they had such little faith. I’d want to witness that because that would show me the level of strength/faith I should have and need. I’m an actress. I live in pictures, so actually watching this would be amazing.

[Brent]  Looking back, if you could give college-age Ashley any advice for the years ahead of her, what would it be?

[Ashley]  Find what brings you joy and stay with that. Don’t worry about anything else. The rest isn’t nearly as important. Don’t allow simple moments with family slip by because you feel like you should be working on your career.

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[Brent]  Do you have any personal boundaries for accountability with so much available to you?

[Ashley]  Simply being willing to say no to jobs/opportunities that might not be best for me. This hasn’t always been true for me, but now I just don’t do it. I’m much more selective with what acting roles and other opportunities are available to me.

[Brent]  Lastly, what made you want to do this interview?

[Ashley]  I don’t actively take steps to go out and talk about my faith. It’s usually more private. I thought this might be a good way of letting others no the realist version of myself, possibly helping someone who reads this. But I think this is also good for non-believers who read this. Christians haven’t always openly, or accurately, portrayed the hard part of life.

I’ll leave you with this small but enjoyable work of Ashley’s…

You can learn more about Ashley Sutton at her webpage, or stay connected with her on Instagram.

 

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A Solid Reminder When Things Appear Dark

Are you in a DARK place today? Is your current season full of endless negativity?
We’ve all been there.
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I want to share an ENCOURAGEMENT with you that jumped out at me this morning during my Bible Intake time.

Mark 7:37 REMINDED me that ‘He (Jesus) has done all things well.’
And specifically the HAS DONE part. Meaning, in the past. He’s been there before for you and done well on your behalf.

So he’ll continue to DO WELL for you today…and tomorrow…and the next day!
Today, take a moment to THANK HIM for things he’s done well in your past, and then to TRUST HIM that he’ll be with you in the same way TODAY.

 

Have a very blessed Sunday!

 

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How To Embrace Your ‘New’ Season

Ok, if I’m honest I really don’t have a firm grasp on embracing new seasons myself. But like many of you, I am in the middle of weathering one currently so…let’s have a discussion. Shall we?

As I was beginning to pen this post, this scripture came to mind…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” – Eccl. 3:1

A Season, or time, for everything. The Hebrew meaning for time here is a ‘set or appointed time.’ In other words, the seasons you and I are facing today are no surprise to God. There is a reason we are where we are!

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And sometimes this requires us to reevaluate some of the regular patterns and habits we’ve set in place. To change things up a bit, if you will. Now, this is really difficult for a guy who ‘needs’ to know what to expect in my day and who values (to a fault) concrete habits. It’s my comfort zone, BUT God operates best outside of comfort zones!

So, what does it look like to EMBRACE a new season of life?

Here’s what I know and have personally experienced. We must be willing to step into it. This requires (demands) faith. And faith without action is dead. You and I must be able to rest in the promise that God is not surprised by where we are right now, and he does have a purpose for us while we are there.

Be intentional to spend time in his Word. Ask him to speak clearly to you through his Word and through other believers. Journal your thoughts and what you think God is telling you.

 

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Interview with Country Recording Artist Kaitlyn Baker

Ok guys, this next interview in the ‘Faith and Entertainment’ series was so good to do. This young lady’s testimony and journey with God is sure to encourage you today. I appreciate how openly she shared her heart and authenticity about her faith and calling in life.

Be sure to leave a comment below for Kaitlyn. Enjoy the interview!

[Brent]  How do you continue to manage your relationship with Jesus with all the music venues and travel?

[Kaitlyn]  I travel a lot so I love being able to turn on gospel music. It really fills my spirit. Basically, my ‘go-to’ is whatever is mobile for being on the go.

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[Brent]    What is one of the most helpful pieces of life advice (outside of family) anyone has ever offered to you?

[Kaitlyn]  When I was younger (age 11 or 12) I struggled with depression and anxiety problems quite a bit. Honestly, it was very debilitating at times. A friend of mine used to always tell me, “Stop focusing so much on what is negative, and the fact that everything isn’t going the way you want it to. Instead, focus on what God is doing right in front of you in the moment and be thankful for that.” She also always reminded me to have faith in myself.

[Brent]    If you were to pass on to heaven tomorrow and all but one of your songs ceased to exist, which one would you want to remain for people to hear and why?

[Kaitlyn]  This is a very hard question. I’d have to say the song that has had most impact on people and myself is “It’s Never Too Late.” I didn’t write this one, but recorded it.

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[Brent]   What does Kaitlyn’s personal quiet time look like?  How do you connect with God best?

[Kaitlyn] Prayer is a real lifestyle for me. It gives me peace, it takes my anxiety away when I pray. And it’s good because I do lots of driving and fishing. That’s my quiet time without distractions of the world around me.

[Brent]   We all experience constant hills and valleys, and the seasons in between. Regarding your most recent valley, can you describe how you weathered it? Prayer, scripture, wise counsel, music?

[Kaitlyn]  About 4.5 years ago I had singed with a record label that unfortunately did not work. I decided to leave the label and soon after that my business partner/financial investor died of a sudden heart attack. It left me shattered and confused on what my next steps were. It took a significant amount of time to accept this situation. I became bitter BUT what really helped me the most was to use the support network I had around me. I remained around positive influences. Then the next painful event hit. My guitarist and great friend was tragically killed by a drunk driver on New Years Eve. Music, prayer, and time were the key components through all of these hard events I was challenged with. I released “Blackbird” afterward to encourage others with the kind of encouragement I was needing myself at the time.

Extra side-note: ”When I was born, I was incredibly premature. My mom prayed to God and asked him to protect and let me live. She made a promise to God that she would always teach me to know about God and his word. She kept true to her word. My Dad wasn’t a believer when I was a small child but he came to know Jesus because he would come to church just to hear me sing. I guess God used the messages he was exposed to in order to draw him into that relationship.”

 

[Brent]   If you could travel back in time and witness any event recorded in the Bible, what would it be…and why?

[Kaitlyn]  Noah’s ark because I would absolutely love to witness the ark and all of God’s beautiful animals in one space like that.

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[Brent]    Looking back, if you could give 12 year old Kaitlyn any advice for the years ahead of her, what would it be?

[Kaitlyn]  Have faith in yourself and trust God that he has you.

[Brent]   Do you have any personal boundaries for accountability with so much available to you?

[Kaitlyn]  Well, I do love an occasional glass of wine but I do not allow my band to drink before a show. They are allowed one drink. Foul language is not tolerated within our band. I am very careful of how I present myself, both on stage and off stage. And last but certainly not least, my band and I always pray together before each show.

[Brent]   What made you want to do this interview?

[Kaitlyn]  Well, first of all I did look at your Instagram feed. Basically, I did my homework before agreeing to do this interview. The biggest reason is to reveal to people that the entertainment industry isn’t all full of dark, crazy, wildness. There are a lot of good people here, and many believers.

Be sure to stay connected with Kaitlyn’s music at the links below!

Spotify   Instagram   Twitter   Website   Youtube

AND…if you liked this interview, be sure to check out similar conversations with Lucas Hoge, Mary Sarah, & April Kry.

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Interview with Lucas Hoge

Well guys, I’m excited to introduce the third country music artist in my Faith and View More: http://jenwoodphotography.pass.us/lucashoge6Entertainment series, Lucas Hoge!

This guy’s the real deal. After spending roughly 40 minutes with him on the phone I can tell you that there probably isn’t anybody who can get more done in a day and still enjoy some fishing and hunting. He’s highly driven, tightly scheduled, and works hard. But somehow he is also able to recognize his need for breaks in the form of rest and fun.

Enjoy the interview. I sure did.

[Brent] What would you say is the single most challenging part for country music artists to stay strong in their faith?

[Lucas] Well, the business side of things can really screw with your head. Lots of compromise comes at you. So it’s easy to slip into compromising your own goals and boundaries.

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[Brent] When did you first start the Sunday Sessions, and how did that idea develop?

[Lucas] I started recording them for myself at first about two years ago. I grew up singing all these old hymns in church, so I gave them a new twist. God really laid it on my heart to do these and they’ve been receiving a ton of hits online.

[Brent] What would you say is God’s calling on your life?

[Lucas] To somehow use my music for what the Sunday Sessions have become. Something in addition to my current country music platform, to really connect with people on a deep level of faith. And I’m still trying to discover what that actually looks like.

[Brent] What is one of the most helpful pieces of life advice (outside of family) anyone has ever offered to you?

[Lucas] Great question. I mean, a solid one in marriage is to never go to bed angry. You know, resolve your differences before the sun goes down. But also, close friends are always encouraging me to stay authentic, “Be you. Stay grounded and humble.”

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[Brent] What does Lucas Hoge’s personal quiet time look like? How do you best connect with Jesus?

[Lucas] Well, I sure don’t get enough of it. I think that’s probably true for most of us. But for me right before bed works best. It seems like that is the only time where I have total peace and quiet. Other than that, being outdoors in nature centers me. Just being around creation makes it easier for me to pray and hear from God.

[Brent] What advice would you offer to 17 year-old Lucas Hoge?

[Lucas] Easy! Stay focused. Don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s easy to chase the popular thing. That voice needs to stay true. Stay the path, people will listen to the message you have regardless.

[Brent] Do you have any personal boundaries for accountability with so much available to you?

[Lucas] I’ll do meet and greets before and after shows. One thing I never do is invite fans to our tour bus. You simply never know what might happen, or what they might bring with them. I Like to keep it all very public. It’s just a good practice.

Watch for his newest music video in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, be sure to check out two of my personal favorite Lucas Hoge songs.

 

Be sure to connect with Lucas on Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube,

ALSO…check out my recent interviews with Mary Sarah & April Kry.

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How Worry Distracts Us, And What To Do About It

Are you feeling anxious today? If you’re like me, a more accurate question is ‘When am I NOT anxious?’
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I regularly worry about our ability to pay the bills, my health, retirement, etc, etc, etc.
‘Do not be anxious about your life’ (Mt. 6:25)… this is literally talking about not worrying about tomorrow. The clothing, food, shelter, etc. When we worry about tomorrow we display how weak our faith is (v. 30).
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We have a real enemy, and I’m not going to flatter him by even mentioning his name. worry 3One of his most effective attacks on you and I is to misguide our focus. He wants us to worry about tomorrow and all the what-ifs. Because we make ourselves more vulnerable to his attacks when our faith is weak. He knows that our faith will remain strong when we remain highly focused on all the ways God is blessing, providing, protecting, and using us in our current moment…TODAY.
You know what I really love about God’s Word? That for everything it instructs us NOT to do, it provides a healthy alternative TO DO. Check out verse 33.
‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’
‘All these things will be added to you’ – God promises to provide all the things that we worry about if we only focus our concerns on today, and specifically Kingdom issues. The things that God is concerned about. Why? Because Kingdom issues are always things that are bigger than us. They take our eyes off of ourselves and onto a larger, more important purpose.
owrry 4The vast majority of our anxiety is rooted in worrying about the things that God promises to provide for us. So what is it that causes us to doubt him, to lose faith? What does this look like for you?

 

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Celebrating 8 Years on this Blog!

This week I’m celebrating 8 years blogging at LeadRight.me!
198 Posts
122 WordPress Followers
35 Email Subscribers
To commemorate this personal accomplishment, I’m sharing 8 of my most popular posts below! Let me know which ones are YOUR favorites. (simply ‘click’ on each picture title)
Keeping the faith in the country music industryMary Sarah
The incredible legacy one person can leave behind when they leave us early
Jutila
Suggestions for those dark seasons of life
darkness
God is active even if you don’t feel Him
working

How to keep circumstances from taking our joy awayjoy

Putting healthier focus on all that you are balancing pause

 

A simple approach to personal Soul Care practice

How to genuinely express gratitude to your teamsappreciation

Thanks SO MUCH for stopping by!

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