Recently, at Bar Louie in Owensboro, my friend Angela Estes Fleischmann, did something incredibly outside of her comfort zone.  She got up on stage, took control of the microphone and belted out the karaoke version of Miranda Lambert's "Bluebird."  Both that moment and that song have monumental significance for her.

Angela's mother, Linda, recently gifted her a glass bluebird that had been in the family for years.  Linda received it from her mother (Angela's grandmother) years ago when Linda found herself at a crossroads.  Now that her daughter was standing at that very familiar intersection, Linda passed it along to her as a way of keeping the "bluebird" in her heart.

See, in addition to the bluebird being a good omen for happiness, it is also symbol of transformation and awakening.  This is the story, complete with bold and fiery photos, of Angela's transformation.

For nineteen years, my longtime friend Angela was a stay-at-home mother.  In fact, she's mom to five girls, ranging in age from 24 to 14.  I mentioned the intersection Angela recently found herself standing in the middle of.  It's an intersection many people experience in their lifetimes.  It's that fork in the road that pulls you from where you've been and unexpectedly shoves you to where you're going.  For many, it's abrupt and seemingly impossible to comprehend, but, at the same time, the proverbial "gut-check" moment when you have to decide who you were, who you are and who you want to be.

After months of going through this unexpected "transformation," Angela decided to do some things for herself.  She finished her Associate's Degree.  She got a couple of tattoos.  And she decided to do something to reclaim her life and rekindle that fire within.  And, my goodness, did she???  She didn't just rekindle a fire.  She conjured an inferno.

She once again channeled her inner Miranda Lambert.  By the way, Angela will tell you that Miranda is her "spirit human."  In a recent photo shoot, Angela channeled every single ounce of the spirit of that human.

She called her friend Victoria Edwards, who, as a hobby, freelances as Dr. V Photography.  They got a bottle of Fireball, a dozen roses, built a raging fire and staged an absolutely epic Miranda-inspired photo shoot that transformed the bluebird into a blazing phoenix.

From Bluebird to Phoenix

I've known Angela my whole life.  Seriously.  We played t-ball together at Thruston Elementary School and have tragic, matching yellow baseball caps to prove it.  I can tell you that this photo shoot is completely outside her comfort zone.  But, I can also tell you, after talking about it in depth with her, it's just what the doctor-turned-photographer ordered.

Angela says, "I hate having my photo taken."  She will tell you- she's either behind the camera taking them or making sure she stays way the heck out of the frame.  But, it was time for her to #TakeBackHerPower and that's exactly what she did. Angela started thinking about and planning the shoot in July and eventually posed for the photos in September.

However, the stage fright then kicked in again.  She once more had to battle that inner voice telling her she wasn't good enough.  But, like the Miranda song says, she's "got a wildcard up her sleeve."  And, so, a couple of months after posing for the photos, Angela decided to share them.  It was truly her way of "taking back her power" and doing something strictly for her.

The response, so far, has been overwhelming. Her friends are incredibly proud. Heck, I saw the photos and knew I had to share them here at WBKR.  I had a hunch women all over the tristate would find this affirming and empowering.  When I called Angela to talk about the photos, I asked her, "Are you ready to take a swig of Fireball and set some stuff on fire?" Obviously, I was speaking metaphorically, but these pictures, for Angela and endless women like her, are worth thousands of words.

While her mom, Linda, may have jokingly threatened to move out of town, she seems to recognize the importance of her little bluebird taking flight.  As for Angela's daughters, Angela says, "They think they're kinda corny."

But, more importantly, Angela says she hopes her daughters are proud of their mom and the message she's portraying.  That message?  That, as a woman, it's important to empower yourself. "We internalize so much that we forget how to take care of ourselves.  We put everyone else first."  At this point in her life, Angela decided to step up to the plate again- just like she did back when she played t-ball at Thruston in that yellow hat that was anything but photogenic.  This time, however, she stepped up to the plate and went to bat for herself.  And she's got a set of smoldering, kick-ass pics to prove it.

Angela's working her way through the intersection by standing in front of the fire, turning the light on in her soul and keeping the bluebird in her heart.

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