Category: WOMAN OF THE MONTH

DECEMBER 2017 WOMAN OF THE MONTH – RHONDA RONCONE

Faith WOMAN OF THE MONTH

Growing up, I went to Highpoint Church located in Southeast Aurora. Rhonda and Gene have always been people I’ve looked up to, and I remember that I was always very fond of Mrs. Rhonda Roncone. She’s a pastors wife, mother, worship leader, business leader, the list goes on and on! Knowing how many things she is/does, I knew that she was someone that I wanted to interview because if she’s inspired me, she definitely inspires others to walk in their faith! In this interview she speaks on advice for worship leaders, for keeping faith in times of crises, dating advice, and how to juggle so many things while making time for Jesus!

Without further ado, I introduce to you Mrs. Rhonda Roncone!

VL: Mrs. Rhonda, you’ve been leading worship for how many years?

RR: I started when she was 15 years old and have been doing this for 35 years.

 

VL: How long have you been singing and playing the piano?

RR: I’ve been playing piano since I was 5 and singing at 7. I am now 50 years.

 

VL: How long have you lived in Colorado?

RR: I was born in Desmois IA, then moved to San Jose when I was 7, and grew up in California, then I moved to Colorado in October 2002.

 

VL: When was it that you realized you were called to lead worship?

RR: It was when I was a junior in high school. At around 16/17 years old I was leading for my youth group. I was always involved in music, but more involved with singing than playing.

Combining the two (singing and piano) did not happen until 1990 when I had to for the first church that Gene and I pastored.

 

VL: How did you know you you were coming to Colorado?

RR: We had a restlessness for Colorado, then we came out to Colorado and explored. Gene had preached once and then we had come out to Colorado on our own time and Gene preached again. We were voted in, and it was confirmation in our hearts as they walked through and there was a peace about it. God gave us discernment about it. We had tested out another church and knew that is was not a good fit.

 

VL: Worship is such an important part of our faith, can you explain why you think worship is so important?

RR: 2 parts

1. God gave me gifts for music, therefore it made me more open to God.

2. Music ministers to me, when I do not have the energy to read the Bible, it is the way that God speaks to me.

 

VL: For those times when you’re so busy with life (Being that you’re a wife, mother, worship leader, running a church etc.) how do/did you continue to find quiet time with Jesus?

RR: When the kids were little, I’d find time while I was vacuuming, or exercising, we all find a way of making time for what is important.

I am a night person so that is when I do my quiet time. You have to make the time and let go of other things.

 

VL: Being a pastors wife, you do so many things! How important is it to be in the word and have such a grounded faith?

RR: It is everything. Even being in the ministry, whether you’re in ministry or not, losing Geno (their son), my faith has let me have what it takes to get through things. When you have something so devastating happen, it can be life changing. If you’re not grounded and have that faith, you will crumble. There are times with Geno when gets so emotionally complicated, you have to be grounded. It is like an investment in your spiritual being. Every time I question why God? I go back to the scriptures. How He can bring remembrance to us when we do not even know them. You can apply God to anything in your life, whether it is crisis, stress, anxiety, or anything else.

I have learned that it is like a crash course collision with your faith, when crises happen. It makes you actually realize and question yourself, “do I truly believe and trust in what I have been saying and preaching to others when things do not go my way.”

 

VL: The devil loves to tempt us all throughout our lives, and especially worship teams and members of staff. How do you use the armor of God to resist the Devil?

RR: We’ve been fortunate to not have a lot of drama within worship, when I have been in charge of it. When you’re a musician it is easy to be prideful and to obtain a large ego. It is important to keep your team accountable in the word, and attending church, reminding them every week, why we do what we do. The minute that the devil tries to come in, you have to deal with it quickly and swiftly. It comes down to the heart, and you have to be in the word daily and keep yourselves accountable. There’s the pressure of feeling like a cheerleader. You can’t go off of the emotional drive of people. I went to a seminar once and someone asked “what do you do when you’re leading a service and no one is entering in?” We are there to lead people into the presence. We are not up there to cheerlead or create this energy and hype. There is a lot of pressure around creating that certain energy and hype but you have to focus on the real reason you’re up there. People can walk in thinking that worship leaders are supposed to entertain, now of course you want things to be excellent, but when it becomes more for entertainment than for true worship you lose the genuine experience of worship. It becomes more emotional hype than of being in God’s presence. Worship is meant to usher us into God’s presence to prepare our hearts to receive the word.

 

VL: What advice can you give to worship teams and worship leaders?

RR:

For Worship Leaders: Follow the vision of your senior pastor, he is the shepherd and the leader of the church. It is important for you to be aligned with your pastor so that

Team members: Stay humble, continue to grow yourself musically, and spiritually, be open to new things and constantly learn.

For both: the heart of worship is more important than your musical abilities.

 

VL: What advice can you give to other moms out there who are having a hard time juggling so many things at once?

RR: I would say, be intentional on your priorities, know what they are, stick to them, and don’t add things to your plate that don’t need to be there. I think this will be different for everyone. A lot of things that we are juggling are things that we think we need to do, when in reality we do not.

 

VL: Going off of that then, what are your priorities?

RR: For me, God, family, and church are the top 3 things. Those are first priority, and they should not be jeopardized by other things. Do not let other people set your priorities, cause they will and we let them, but don’t.

 

VL: What advice can you give to other women growing in their faith?

RR:  Surround yourself with other women that would encourage you to be better, and that would encourage you in the right ways. Connect with women that will bring out the best in you not the worst. A hard time is when you’re out of high school, it really tests your faith. It is harder as you get older so find a good support base. Those are harder to find. Find people that you really enjoy being with, but realize that you have to make that effort and put yourself out there. You always desire those friendships but they are harder to find and manage the older you get.

 

VL: This question is pretty broad, haha! What is it like being a pastors wife? So many of us have no idea how you do that! We do not realize how much work goes into it!

RR: It is a profession that nobody teaches you how to do. There are a lot of expectations put on you that you did not know about or even ask for. However, I feel that a pastors wife is a role that is a calling, just as much as it is for a pastor.

 I feel God intends the pastors wife to have a role. You minister to women in ways their husbands or men can’t.

It does feel as though you’re in a fish bowl beacuse people are always watching. You feel like your lives are on display for everyone so it can be difficult. It is 24/7 job. You can get a call in the middle of the night and have to be at the hospital. But it can be very rewarding because you can find so much joy and satisfaction in what you do!

 

VL: What was one time growing up that you really had to rely on your faith and trust in Jesus?

RR: My parents were so amazing. I grew up as a pastors daughter, and they made pastoring so appealing to me that I did not see all of what it is now. I had so many things growing up that I was so fortunate. When I was young, I was really worried about making a mistake. My concern was finding God’s will. You kind of want God to tell you audibly, but He lets us have a journey, and He teaches us those things. Learn how to use those difficult times when you’re young so that you can handle the bigger decisions down the road.

 

VL: What dating advice can you give to those of us who are in the dating stages of life?

RR: Make a list of characteristics you want your husband to have, and don’t bother going out with anyone who doesn’t have them, because you’re going to get emotionally attached.

Don’t compromise on anything on that list and don’t change the criteria either.

Don’t date anyone you cannot see yourself marrying.

Be picky and don’t settle.

 

Wow! Mrs. Rhonda comes with loads of advice and this is only a snippet into her life!

 

Is there a woman that inspires you or others within their community? Would you like to see them as a Woman of the Month? Send an email to vanessalandlt@gmail.com! You or your inspiration could be the next Woman of the Month!

Photo: Courtesy of Rhonda Roncone

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NOVEMBER 2017 Woman of the Month – Fashion Designer Crystal Lee

Fashion WOMAN OF THE MONTH

Hello friends!

You may have noticed quite a gap with new blog posts. This is due to the fact that I’ve been working to get some interviews of some of the most influential women I’ve met. Whether it be in fashion or the community. These women are courageous, chasing after their dreams, and women that are inspiring the world for the better.

My first feature for this Woman of the Month is Crystal Lee, a Denver fashion designer, mother and fierce boss lady, accomplishing her dreams!

1. Give us a little background into your life. Are you a Colorado native?

I’m from San Marcos California and I played softball at junior college. A majority of my life was playing sports. I went to Oklahoma State on full ride softball scholarship and my roommate lived in Denver and so when she moved back to Denver that was when I moved too.

2. When did you realize that you wanted to become a fashion designer? What motivated you to want to design clothing?

The light bulb moment for me was that I am not your “sample size” and about 5-6 years ago I was not finding clothing for for myself so it was out of necessity that I started making my own clothes and friends would ask me “where did you get that?”

I went back to school (the Art Institute in Denver) around 2006-2007 for fashion and just did that!

3. What is your actual process?

Every designer has their own process. Obviously, you have to know how to sew and what not. I’m very picky about the fabrics that I use. I love fabric with lots of movement! I love the silk section!  When I get fabric, I’ll take it out of the roll and see how the fabric moves and let the fabric speak to me what it wants to be. Sometimes I can sketch, but it can be limiting to me because then I feel like I need to stick to it, so i drape it and cut and just move as I see fit. Sometimes a song can inspire me and I will think, “what kind of outfit would I like to wear if this song was playing?”

The first thing I ask myself is what I want to be when I show up? Whether it’s the cool girl, the laid back woman,  the classic girl, etc.  I also ask my clients the same thing.

4. What does C.R. stand for in C.R. Lee Designs?

Crystal Renee Lee Designs 

5. You recently did your first show at NYFW, CONGRATS! How was that?

From beginning to end; from planning to the actual show day, it was one of the hardest things besides having my son. I had some very labor some from fabrics that I need to pre-order and then to the day of the show. There is so much planning and detail involved. My plan is to grow into retail, so I wanted pieces to be ready-to-wear. I also try to show as much detail as possible whether it is for just for down the street, or NYFW, I want people to see a good show. It was everything I thought it would be.  It was very seamless and so surreal. 

6. What inspires your designs? Specifically your Date Night piece (which is clearly popular since it is sold out!), Halleigh, and Myia.

Date Night and Halleigh went right off the runway. The inspiration from this whole line came from straightjackets but with a softness. As women we live up to the “ideas and labels” that society gives us so I wanted to take a perception and twist it. So on the Halleigh the lines like in an insane asylum. The Halleigh also is denim and has all these different parts to it but is still a gorgeous piece. My message towards women is to be whatever you want to be and that not everything has to be perfect and polished to be pretty. There can be some destruction, some unexpected and it is still pretty. Life is beautiful with the imperfections. 

The Jackie Jacket is in perriwinkle blue inspired by a strait jacket but you would never guess so it is all about how you make it appear. 

The Myia is inspired by that silk and the flowy movement.

7. What else is in store for CR Lee this year and next?

I am going to take a vacation and reflect, I have some opportunities that I am hoping come to fruition. I need to go somewhere with a beach. I’ve got Massif Fashion Week, November 2nd. I am also pushing for retail. I still have my full time job and so I need to do more retail to get this to be a full time so that people can start enjoying it more and faster. 

8. When I last spoke with you, you were working on some new pieces, can you describe them to us? (if it is a surprise, I totally get it)

People want to see some black pieces. so there is more black, personally I hate a whole black collection, I love color, I am expanding on the whole inspiration. There are some pieces inspired by the Rorschach test.

9. What would be your advice for someone else who wants to accomplish their dreams just like you have?

I always say the same thing. Just start. There is no formula  for accomplishing your dreams, what I do may not work for you. You just have to believe in yourself and start!

10. What advice to you give your son?

Never be afraid. Fear is that one thing that keep people from trying and doing. If it doesn’t kill you, if it doesn’t bodily harm you or others around you. Just try and see what happens. 

11. I saw your favorites from your SS17 collection. What are your favorites from your SS18 collection?

You know, it is funny. These pieces are like my children, so I do not really have a favorite and each piece serves a new purpose. For example, with this interview I had the other day, I wore the Janelle jumpsuit. For the Janet Jackson concert I am going to, I feel like the mood would be the jumpsuit. I do not have a favorite because they all represent a mood. The Myia is the one I get the most energy from. 

12. Where can people go to find you on social media/ website?

twitter: @crleedesigns 

Instagram: @cre8tivelee

Facebook: CR Lee Designs 

Snapchat: CR Lee Designs

Photo: Kevin Mock
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