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  • Mary Davis

The Story of the App: What I Never Told Anyone


Dear Ones,


You are in my heart as we hold each other close through the enormous changes around us. I lift up your lives, your loved ones, your intentions each and every day. I hope the daily Facebook messages have been serving your journey and that the book has offered comforting companionship.


I recently spent a few weeks making big updates to both the Apple and Android versions of the app, and I realized that I've never told anyone the whole insane story of how the app, Every Day Spirit Lock Screens, came to be.


I started down the rocky road of app development about ten years ago with only one thing in mind:


I wanted you to feel connected with your spiritual self in some positive way every time you opened your phone or iPad.


I wanted you to be uplifted, encouraged and validated in your goodness.

 

And amazing as it is, all this time later, I feel that mission more strongly than ever. With Covid Uncertainty swirling around us, we can all use an extra source of nurturance and positive spiritual connection.


So my dears, in celebration of the app's 6 year anniversary in April, with over 35K users and beautiful reviews, I wanted to share with you one of my biggest life adventures.


ONCE UPON A TIME


Before the books, before the wisdom quotes on social media, before the Etsy Store, before the blog, there was only the app.


It was the destination. It was all I wanted to do.


And its creation was a wild ride to say the least.


The inner pull to record the spiritual wisdom that resided in my heart was just beginning when I was still a piano teacher - teaching about 25 kids a week after school, and teaching their moms yoga during the day.


My house was a revolving door of joys and friendships, challenges and life events. Together we went through births and deaths, victories and bullying, first loves and divorces. Real life and strong community.


It was during this time, about ten years ago, when I set out to find a daybook of spiritual wisdom for my then teenaged daughter, Maya, and couldn't find what I was looking for.


I could see in my mind's eye what I wanted for her - a book of uplifting inspirations that would remind her of her strength, beauty and spiritual wisdom.


I envisioned the pages: a quote, a few paragraphs on the day's meditation, a way to practice it throughout the day, an affirmation. (Sound familiar?)


So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and write one myself.


It didn't go so well.


Here's an excerpt from the intro of the book, Every Day Spirit, that explains:

Using a few crafty skills, I printed out ten pages, punched holes in one side and bound it with ribbon. I presented the prototype on her pillow for review. It bombed.


“I would never read that much every day, Mom.” Hmm.


Not to be deterred, I boiled the gems down to a mere paragraph each, printed, punched and ribboned once more, adding a few beads in the binding as a bribe to my audience of one.


And again, “Still waaaayyy too long, Mom.”


One morning, as I contemplated my next move, I watched her over breakfast, eyes riveted on her phone, glued with laser focus on the little box in her hand.


"That,” I thought with a smile, “is where I need to be.”


So I distilled the wisdom down even further until there were but a few words left in the pan.


With these I created mobile phone wallpapers, and from those, I created the Every Day Spirit Lock Screens app.


The side trip took many years and great love, and brought me purpose and positive focus when my marriage was beginning to falter.


Each day after Maya left for school and before I taught piano lessons, I focused on creating one thing. Just one beautiful thing. 

What this little story does not tell you is how incredibly hard it was for me to make the app. 


Like the book, I could see the app in my mind's eye. Clearly. I knew what I wanted it to be, but had no earthly idea of how to make my vision come to be.


So I marched into an Apple Store and up to the Genius Bar. 


"I want to make an app. Do you know any app developers who live in the area?"


There happened to be one guy.


I stalked him on Twitter and finally got the nerve to ask for his help. We met for lunch and I asked a million questions.


He told me he thought I was a little nuts and that there really weren't many female app developers.


What was that supposed to mean?


It made me more determined than ever. Look out, guys, I'm coming.


INSANITY ENSUES


By this time, Maya was away at her first year of college and I was living alone in the house of my marriage.


And I got the crazy idea that the best way to learn to code was to take an online class. All alone. Just me in the house with the dreaded code.  


Not my brightest idea.


I poked around and found recordings of Stanford University classes in beginning coding. Two whole semesters.


I. Was. So. Lost.

Oh. My. Dear. God.


I filled notebooks - a pile of them. I stayed up until 2 and 3 in the morning trying to figure things out. I like numbers and calculus. I like solving things. But this was so alien to me that I was constantly frustrated and hanging on by a thread.


When it came time to put the code into practice, the excitement started.


Could it be that if I set up this group of phrases {with a few < and > and :} I get an action? Yep. It was starting to work. 


(Sorry, Real Coders. I know it's more than that, but it's all I can remember. I have amnesia about the whole thing. Like childbirth.)


After slogging through the quicksand of Stanford classes, I found my way to an online community who were using X-Code, a specialized coding used to develop Apple products. My new tech friends were super helpful and patiently answered my next million questions.


From there, I learned the beauty of "plug ins" - bits of pre-made coding that would perform a particular task - like creating a contact form if the customer needed support.


People in the group would make them and sell them for cheap. It felt like delicious cheating.


In the X-Code group I was able to make my first version of the app. It had the wallpapers, the sections, and the feel of the current app, but it was not as beautiful as I wanted it to be. It was plain and drab. It looked like other apps. I envisioned mine to be colorful and aesthetically appealing.


After years of making wallpapers and 6 months of 80 hour weeks, I was exhausted in every way. I had hit my wall. And the app was not there yet.


ENTER ANGELS


At about that time, a friend sent me a chain letter. I am not even kidding. I never do those things but for some reason, she sent it and it caught my eye.


It was about inviting the Archangels into the house. And hosting them for a week. There were ceremonies, conversations and requests. The whole hospitality thing was quite detailed and I was just tired enough to go all in.


I surrendered.


Take the whole damn thing, God. I give up. The app is yours now. See how you and your angels do with coding.


(I'm pretty sure I did more swearing. I was very tired.)


Well, the angels were kind in spite of my attitude.


That week, the ideas began to flow like crazy. It "occurred to me" (thanks, angels) that there must be companies who help people make apps. I searched. I made lists. I noted costs. I called them all up. Made more notes.


And asked the Archangels for direction.


I was led to a small startup, with tech geeks who were dedicated to helping people make beautiful apps.


They had developed templates that you could edit infinitely. And from my incredibly difficult experience with coding, I felt like I knew what I was doing. It was a fit!


THE APP WAS BORN


Every Day Spirit Lock Screens app came to be exactly as I envisioned it - and is now an app of 1000 uplifting mobile wallpapers for iPhone, iPad and Android. To my constant surprise, it has been living in the Top 100 of the Lifestyles category of the App Store for years.


Once, after the app was finally published, I told Jerome, my tech guy, that I felt like a tech ninja.


And he wrote, “No Mary, you are not a tech ninja. But maybe you are a Baby Ninja."


And that became my name in our exchanges for years.

 

Now six years out, I'm still with my dear tech team at GoodBarber who reside on the tiny French island of Corsica off the coast of Italy. Those angels get around.


FROM BOOK TO APP TO BOOK 


The most wondrous part of all is that the idea for the book ultimately led me to create the app. And a few years later in the cabin, I used the quotes in the app to organize the 366 essays for the book. 


Again, from the intro of Every Day Spirit:


Today, the road has arrived full circle, back to the Daybook I started those many years ago.


We flow, like the hours of the day, like the seasons of the year, toward what we are meant to do. One step at a time, making an offering as we go.


We ask for direction, listen for signs, follow the trail, act on guidance, and sometimes we arrive, just for a moment, to receive what we were seeking and to give thanks.


And so I kneel in gratitude.


GRATITUDE


Thank you, dear ones, for supporting me on this journey.


Thank you for receiving the gifts of my heart.


Thank you for walking the road with me, for drinking in the words, for changing our world daily with your loving light. 


I am beside you each day, in every step.


There's no place I'd rather be.


With great love and infinite blessings,

Mary (aka Baby Ninja) xo


The app is here.


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