Beauty From Ashes Is A Real Thing

Posted on December 31, 2015 by Dana Bowman | 0 comments

I was confirmed yesterday of the root reason why funCTIONAL exists.

A little backstory: for the majority of my life, 9 chances out of 10 I’ve always gotten what I wanted. Whether it was to play soccer, go to college, study abroad, or even getting a job right out of college – everything I pursued I was more than likely successful.

I worked my butt off for it but all in all, I got to do everything I wanted in the time it came to me and if something wasn’t working out I modified it and went another way still finding success.


I never had a "true" beauty-from-ashes story, until recently.

I changed careers as a Graphic Designer / Web Developer and went to nursing school. The goal was the Peace Corps when I was done. I was so excited because I wanted to be in community with people in a health care environment and I felt like that was something I could do where I would feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself. 

Fast forward through 2 years of science prerequisites (and getting married to an amazing man!) and following 2 of the most difficult, self-doubting, questioning and spiritually / mentally jarring years of my life through nursing school, I’m set to graduate and the only thing I have left is to pass my boards!

I take all the study programs that were recommended and the advice from our school counselors, I do everything I’m “supposed to do” and I show up to test day!


“This is it! I’m going to do this! I checked the list and I did it all, finally, I can’t wait!”

I failed. And I have to wait 3 days to find out.

You think waiting to unwrap your presents is bad. Try having to wait 3 days to find out if you can even have a career doing what you’ve put so much time, effort and sacrifice in to. 

Ok, next time. I’ll try another study program, pay another fee, send in another application all in the meantime try to keep my job AND my sanity. With an amazing husband standing by that feels helpless but is doing his best to love me through this without me tearing him to pieces, we move forward.

Next time came and next time went. I failed again.

I felt trapped and disappointed. Wavering in a kind of limbo I hadn’t experienced before. I’ve always been a free spirit and I’ve never felt so strangled in my life.

“How many more times do I have to go through this?!”

Each attempt chipping away my confidence and growing my insecurities. I’m letting this define the kind of person I am, the kind of nurse I would be, doubting my abilities, doubting my intelligence, doubting any chance I might have to actually be a nurse and thinking of all the wasted time, energy, tears, money and stress on relationships if it doesn’t happen. Is this worth it?

Side note: You have 5 years after graduating from nursing school to pass your boards before you have to take an entire nursing program over again. I told Javi I would give it 5 years. I wasn’t going to go through another nursing school program again. I never say never but that “never” was fo sho! No thanks. 100% my heart wouldn’t survive another round.


Ok, pick back up and try again. This time for sure! I mean, 3rd time is a charm right?! Let’s do this!

My third attempt was 2 days before my 30th birthday. I was having a Hillbilly Hootenanny party with our pool emptied out, a fire pit in the bottom and lights streamed along the top… in November! We were all dressed up, we had a huge truck parked in our front lawn, one of the neighbors came banging on our door (at 8:30p) saying they called the cops and I had a twinky/dingdong/zebra cake/hoho cake… it was awesome!

Everyone that came to the party were most of the amazing people I get to have in my life and I thought it would be a really awesome surprise to tell everyone there that I finally passed!!

But I didn’t. Fail #3

I brushed it off in the moment and I decided I wouldn’t let it ruin my birthday. After all, was I really surprised at this point? I’ve tried 3 different strategies for each attempt and I failed each time.

Hands up in the air and a #wth I’m over it.

Through a chain of events after that week for the next couple months, I decided that I wasn’t waiting around anymore. 2015 was a new year and I got stuff to do! And cool stuff at that! I still have my desires and my ambitions, my dreams and goals for my life! Not to mention the new dreams my husband and I had together.

2015 was the first year where I actually set intentions for the year and it’s been an amazing whirlwind since! I set goals that I didn’t know in the beginning how I was going to accomplish them or how they would manifest but knew they would happen. That’s who I was before I let nursing school suck the life out of me and turn me into someone I didn’t recognize.


I felt rejuvenated and revived with new goals!

No more waiting because I knew there was nothing else that I could do to pass. There weren’t any more questions I could take or more study programs that would help. Why? Because my results every time were inconsistent. It wasn’t my lack of knowledge, it was my test-taking abilities that determined if I failed or passed.

My thought, I’m not going to let this dictate my life any longer.

I’ll take the exam but I’m not allowing it to take anymore of my energy. I stopped studying so much and stopped caring so much.

March 3, 2015 – I pass with flying colors!

It’s been a long road and a lot of hard work mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally to find my way back, but I made it.


And what manifested in the wake of this storm was this funCTIONAL Planner.

Not just a planner to write your appointments and schedule your massages or kiddos soccer games in. It’s a planner born out of one of the darkest times in my life of self-doubt and insecurities – so much so that it almost destroyed my marriage.

In addition, a dear friend who has had to endure a day that I have yet to fathom was my confirmation. She lost her mother last year and she’s using this planner to start anew! Her story pierced my heart in ways she’ll never know.

If this whole adventure was for just one person to find some peace in the midst of life’s storms and uncertainties – it’s all worth it.


This is a planner to help people start FRESH, give them a clean slate, to start over.

Something that gives them hope that they can crawl out of whatever they’re going through and be triumphant. To know that they’re not alone and it’s not too late, to be encouraged that they can accomplish whatever their heart desires.

It’s a planner filled with love an encouragement to lift you up on the rough days and to remind you why you want something more for your life.

It’s a chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself in this lifetime.

That’s why this planner exists.

It doesn’t exist just to take up room on your shelf or space in your purse. It exists to give people the hope, encouragement, and confidence they need to actually live a life that excites them, a life that excites you.

Will you be living a life that excites you in 2016?

I don’t know about you but that is my FULL intent for my 2016! After everything I’ve been through over the last year, I’m dreaming dreams again this year that I have yet to know how they will happen.

But I tell ya what, I SURE AM going for it!



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