Wanna Know More?

Golly, I’m flattered that you want to know more!!

Let’s start from the very beginning, I’ve heard it’s a very good place to start ;)

Dana Marie Siblings

+ I was born and raised in Glenview, a suburb just north of Chicago with my parents, my little sister, Jenna, and big brother, Alec. I grew up with a passion for helping people, dancing and singing. When I was 9 years old, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It was pretty well managed until my twenties.

+ I’ve always loved playing outside. We grew up going up to Lake Geneva, WI almost every weekend in the summer. We loved going tubing, especially when my dad would drive the boat in circles around the lake! :) This is my friend / sister from another mister, Megan.

+ I was so lucky to grow up in a family that loves to travel – especially in adventurous ways. We love going on ski trips, hiking, climbing mountains, exploring caves, surfing, and even repelling down waterfalls!! As the Up saying goes, “adventure is out there!”

+ After graduating from high school, I headed to Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. I became a huge Notre Dame football fan. I was on the Notre Dame Hip Hop Dance Team and an all girls a capella group (think Pitch Perfect) called Harmonia. It was a blast. Go Irish!

+ I studied abroad for a semester in Rome…and completely fell in love with Italian. I ended up minoring in Italian and still try to sneak in time to practice. Speaking Italian feels like dessert to me. It’s so much fun and indulgent. This is my friend Jenny and me waltzing in the middle of a piazza! :)

+ After a lot of prayer, I decided to transfer to the University of San Diego for my last two years of college. This was one of the best decisions I ever made! I ended up making life long friends, growing deeper in my relationship with Jesus, become a certified yoga teacher, and of course – SURFING! :)

+ Upon graduation from USD, I joined a volunteer program and moved to East Los Angeles. I worked as a youth minister in an area heavily influenced by gang violence. It was an incredible learning experience. Sadly, it was short lived, because this is when I started to get really sick. I arrived back in Chicago – and that’s where I spent about 5 years in and out of the hospital. For that time period, I focused mostly on getting healthy and accustomed to living life with an ileostomy. This is me modeling my ileostomy bag and showing the world that it’s ok to be proud of our bodies, no matter what!

+ While I was home in Chicago, I helped to lead retreats for high school juniors and seniors. The retreat was called Kairos. We gave the teens a safe place to open up about their lives and to begin to explore their relationship with God. These teens mean the world to me, and I still stay in touch with many of them today. I’ve helped lead over 15 retreats with my friend Father Paddy – an 80-something year old priest from Dublin! I feel so blessed to be in these teens’ lives – here is a picture of me crashing a few of their prom pictures one year! There are hundreds of teens that I got to meet, but these are some of the ones that I’ve stayed in touch with, I love them so dearly!

 

 

+ Around the same time, I began to explore my passion for music more seriously. I began writing my own songs and playing around town. In 2015, I entered a contest through a Chicago country radio station called The Next Big Thing. I ended up making it to the final 3 and opened up for Jana Kramer! It was a total dream come true. A few months later, I made my way down to Nashville to pursue music more seriously.

+ Since living in Nashville, I’ve been writing with some of the most talented songwriters in town, performing all over the downtown strip and beyond, and getting a closer look at the music industry. It’s been the most exciting, terrifying and rewarding ride ever! I highly recommend taking risks when it comes to your dreams.

+ I found a safe haven in Nashville when I started going to church at The Belonging Co. It’s a non denominational church that truly challenged me in my faith and my relationship with Jesus. In September of 2016, I gave my heart to the Lord. I grew up Greek Orthodox and Catholic, but never truly understood who Jesus was until I got into a biblically based church. I thank God each day that He has spent my entire life pursuing me and finally brought me to a church that would allow me to meet Him in a whole new way. This church has helped me learn about Jesus in the most non-judgmental, patient, and gentle way. I am astounded by the gentleness of our Lord and how He presents Himself through kindness and patience in true believers. I am so grateful for this church! I have never felt more at peace before.

+ I’ve known for a long time that the Lord has been calling me to minister to young women. I struggle with feeling worthy and qualified to do this work, but I know that the Lord has a funny way of using “unqualified” people. I started this website as a way for me to blend all of my passions together – music, ministry, travel, wellness, and the beauty of finding Him in everyday life.

+ Other than that, I really shouldn’t eat too much sugar, but I have a weakness for Sweet Mandy B’s vanilla cupcakes when I’m back home in Chicago! I’m obsessed with snowboarding, being in the mountains, and by the seaside.

+ My family. AH. I love them. I love ice cream dates with my dad, deep talks with my mama, dinner dates with my sister, and quality time with my brother, his wife Meghan, and their two beautiful boys – Dean and our newest addition, baby George! My family is so special to me.

+ My parents mean the world to me. They have always been so incredibly supportive. They’ve always been there to pick me up when I’m lost in my pain and they know how to make me feel so loved. They always show up when I need them most – like the time I ended up in the ER here in Nashville, my dad flew down that night, and my mom showed up the next morning! That’s love. I look up to my parents so much – last year they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, so they decided to go on 40 adventures! They made a bucket list on January 1st and finished 40 adventures by the end of the year – including a polar plunge, renewing their vows by Elvis in Vegas, going to an igloo bar, dance lessons and so much more. They are so much fun!

+ I’ve also got a really cute boyfriend. His name is Tanner. As soon as I met him, I felt like I was at home :) I feel so lucky that I get to date the guy who inspires me the most. He truly has a heart after Jesus and is driven by eternity. He works so hard, is more driven than anyone I know, a total gentleman, respects me, and treats me like a lady :) He’s one of those guys who could talk to anyone, we joke that he could sell ice to an eskimo! haha I’m so blessed to have this amazing man by my side.

+ I genuinely wish that I could sit down with you over a cup of coffee and learn all about you! But please feel welcome to share with me your thoughts on my writings and music and how they relate to you, it means the world to me! :)

Also if you’re ever in Nashville, give me a shout!

If you want me to come speak and sing at your church or event, please contact me! I’d LOVE to meet you!

Also, make sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Ciao for now, bella!