Happy #worldsmentalhealthday beautiful friends! Buckle up readers because this post is about to get very REAL and RAW.
Let’s talk about the different disorders my doctors have labeled me with over the years. Depression Disorder. Anxiety Disorder. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Attention Deficit Disorder. What do all these things have in common? The word disorder, which means a state of confusion. And boy was I confused.
These disorders do not define who I am- it’s simply a part of my story now, which I figured was about time I share with you. My Anxiety began 13 years ago my freshman year of college when I realized my dad wasn’t the perfect man I thought he was. He cheated. He abused. He abandoned us. He never reaches out anymore. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen my father in the past ten years. We haven’t spoken much more than that since then either. How could he do that to us? How could he betray us like that? Does he not love his own children? These are all questions I may never get the answer to, but it is what it is and I’ve learned to forgive Him for my heart and leave the rest up to God. I pray he is alive and doing well because I have learned that harboring bitterness only leans to more depression and anger. My father is in Heaven and I can’t wait to meet him one day 🙏🏻🙌🏻❤️
Then my grandfather passed away three weeks after my dad left us. Depression set in fast with our family.
Let’s fast forward to a few years ago when I fell in love with the boy next door. If you have ever watched the show “You” on Netflix, this is exactly the kind of man I had fallen for and had no idea who he really was. One minute he was telling me he loved me and wanted to spend his life with me and the next minute he was throwing me into a wooden beam and holding me down and choking me. I learned how to utilize my fight or flight instincts real quick. He hurt me- emotionally and physically to the point that I filed a restraining order for two years to ensure my safety and I moved to Nashville. This is when I started therapy and my journey to cope with PTSD.
To be honest, I was an absolute wreck after this relationship. I was so angry, so sad, so hurt, so mind blown that another human could think and behave this way towards someone who loved them. I was embarrassed and blamed myself for falling for someone like that. I’ve learned to Let Go and Let God handle all of the wrongs inflicted in my life. I learned to forgive him too, not because what he did was ok but because I refused to let his poor actions control the way my heart loved.
Let’s fast forward to last year. I fell in love again with someone who wasn’t right for me. It moved so quickly and I know now that should have been a red flag. There were SO many red flags I ignored because I kept telling myself I wanted to see the best in him and believe him that he would get healthy and deal with the trauma in his life that he never dealt with either. Another restraining order was filed for very good reason. My PTSD was re-triggered. Then, I lost my job a month after I bought my first home because I was considered a “flight risk.” I worked so hard to get to where I was in my career and to have that taken away from me because of someone else’s actions was devastating to me. Also- My family hasn’t given me a single dime to pay my bills after I lost my job and I’m so proud of that. I’m so proud of the strength I dug deep and found to get through it all. That strength started as a 7 year old little girl loving Jesus.
I didn’t know how to handle the emotions my body and mind were feeling. I was so overwhelmed and my cortisol levels were so out of whack. This led to a lot of health issues like hypo-thyroidism and my hormones were in the negatives. At the age of 29, my blood work was that of a woman going through full blown menopause. This is not normal.
Trauma is something that will manifest itself into other parts of your body and wreak havoc if you don’t get a good handle on it. I learned that the hard way. PTSD and anxiety are still something I struggle with but I have developed so many healthy ways to deal with it now. I’ve taken a much needed year off from dating to get right with myself and my mind. I have started a new career and learned to love myself and see myself the way Jesus sees me, not the way the world may see me. What you speak to yourself creates your reality.
I am sharing my story and my heart with you not to get pity. I realize everyone deals with trauma in their lives in some way. I am doing well and thriving right now and that’s because of My Savior. I have learned that He is literally the only one who will NEVER ever let me down. I find my strength to get up every day because my relationship with Jesus and my hope far outweighs any fear, anxiety or depression or label a doctor gives me. God has taken care of me and closed the doors that needed to be closed and opened even more doors for me. I am learning to stand up for myself more than I ever have. If anyone knows me well you know I don’t take 💩 from anyone anymore and I’m leaning everyday how to do that gracefully while still respecting myself.
My pastor this last Sunday spoke about having an outlet to share your story. He said that we all need someone to be able to share our story with which is why I’m sharing a little about mine now…in hopes it may help someone else. I have learned that God is the only one who can restore your heart and soul. If you seek to find your worth in your career or another human you will never feel fulfilled and likely will always struggle with depression and a feeling of emptiness.
If anyone reading this is struggling with something similar to what I have been through please don’t hesitate to reach out. I urge you to get into therapy and learn healthy ways of dealing with the pain you are feeling. I understand your pain and I understand what you are feeling and going through. Just know that Gods got you!!! You are so worthy of having everything and more that your heart desires. You are so worthy despite the labels you have been given. The first step is trusting God and choosing to love yourself enough to not give up! Your future is so bright my dear!
I am sending lots of love to all my friends today reading this. Im so thankful for the beautiful souls in my life who have never given up on me despite the trauma I have endured in my life. In order to heal we must first ask for forgiveness and learn how to forgive others. I hope this resonated with someone today. Thank you for reading some of my story. I would love to connect with you and hear your story too! You can make comments below or message me or email me directly. 🙂
Have you ever wanted to start a side business but felt completely terrified and fearful of failure? I can totally relate to that feeling because its exactly how I felt too. What if nobody supports me? What if I fail? What if I lose money? What if people make fun of me? What if my own family and best friends don’t buy anything from me? These are all completely normal questions and fears that I had before I chose to start my own businesses. I waited for two years to pursue my business, because I wanted to make sure that I loved the products and that they truly worked for me before I shared them with anyone else. Man oh man I wish I had started so much sooner than I did though!
I grew up with great parents who taught me to go to college and get a degree. Then once I graduated the only option I thought I has was to look for a job. I never even considered starting my own business. So I did what any typical college graduate would do and took the first job I could making $29,000 a year at the State of Mississippi working for our amazing Insurance Commissioner, Mike Chaney. I thought that the only way to be successful was to start at the bottom and work my way up the ladder like the rest of college graduates. I started to work my way up and a few years later was hired on by an major insurance company. I worked in the health insurance industry as an account manager for almost ten years. I worked with fortune 500 company CEO’s around the world to help ensure millions of people had the health insurance coverage they needed through their employers. The amount of stress I was under was zero fun. I went through 7 interviews to get the job, received several promotions, raises and bonuses and that is definitely something I am proud of. However, I used to work every single holiday, tons of weekends and averaged 60+ hour work weeks most of the time! I was tired, stressed, and depressed because I never got to spend time with the people I loved. I had settled for a career I didn’t love just because I made good money. But was it worth it? Was my soul set on fire? Was I passionate about my career? NO!! I think its very rare to find someone who absolutely loves their job and makes a great living with it. Going to work every single day for 8-12 hours just to work on someone else’s dream isn’t all its cracked up to be. It can drain you and stress you out and make you miserable. I know this because that used to be me….until I got fired….even after implementing a multi- million dollar account!
I will never forget that day I was let go. I was completely in shock and had no idea how I was going to afford my mortgage for the beautiful house I just bought two months prior. For those that are wondering, the reasoning is super personal and something I am not ready to share with the world yet but maybe I will one day. I remember being so angry, completely lost, terrified, sad, confused, and heart broken. Do you know what that told me? I held way more value in my career and how much money I made than I should have. I wasn’t living a purpose driven life where I was able to truly make an impact on the world and that is what I truly desire. Then I remembered that side business I started two years ago for only $49 with a company called Arbonne.
I had no job, no kids or husband, and no other excuses to make for not pursing this side business. I already knew I loved the skincare set I had been using for two years, but I still wasn’t fully sold on Arbonne yet. So I slowly started to dip my feet in the water and started telling people how much I loved the skincare and how it helped my skin. A few months later I decided to FINALLY do the 30 days to healthy living program. I LOVE food and I did NOT want to give anything up. However, around this time my health issues were getting progressively worse and I knew I needed to try something new.
I have struggled with hormonal issues since I got my period in 6th grade. I was diagnosed with PCOS and stage 4 endometriosis when I was 23. The most awful day of my life was when my doctor told me it would be really hard for me to have children due to these diseases. I used to get weekly migraines and I had no energy. I had several trips to the ER and surgery at a very young age. I was given more prescription drugs than you can imagine from different doctors trying to put a band aid on my symptoms. Shortly after I moved to Nashville, I started to see a new doctor who focuses on holistic health, and she diagnosed me with hypo-thyroid disorder about two years ago. I was 28 at the time and I will never forget when the doctor looked at me and said my hormone levels were in the negative at a peri-menopausal state and she has no idea how I was functioning. Every woman in my family has a thyroid condition so that was no surprise to me but hearing I was peri-menopausal!! What…….surely not! I was devastated. I am way too young for this I thought! I am not even married yet, hell I am not even dating and hearing that was the death sentence for the possibility of having my own children one day. This was the first doctor to sit down with me for thirty minutes and explain how much the food I was eating affected my hormones and that I needed to change my diet. Well the diet she recommended fell right in line with Arbonne’s 30 days to healthy living program so I thought why not give it a try!
Lets fast forward to December of 2018 when I completed my first 30 days to healthy living program. I lost 33 pounds, had amazing sleep, increased energy levels, clearer skin, less inflammation, better digestion, and felt better than I had in such a long time! I went back to the doctor a few months after I completed the program and guess what? My thyroid and hormonal levels were normal ya’ll! I am not taking any synthetic drugs for my thyroid condition either! Arbonne has taught me that with the right food and supplements our bodies are designed to heal themselves on their own if you have the proper fuel. Here is a before and after picture of my own personal results using the RE9 skincare line and the 30 days to healthy living program for 6 weeks.
After I had such amazing results I knew I had to tell everyone I knew about Arbonne! I am not claiming that Arbonne is a miracle worker, but my lab results speak for themselves ya’ll. I had finally become a true believer after two years, and I haven’t been able to stop sharing these amazing products and this amazing opportunity with everyone I know! Instead of being fearful of people laughing at me or telling me no, my mindset COMPLETELY changed to WOW- what if I can help people get healthier? What If I can help someone make extra money if they lost their job like me? What if I can help my friends family make extra money? What if I CAN DO THIS? Why the hell not? So I started to pursue this new passion of mine and I made it to the first of four levels in only one month as a District Manager! I started to listen to podcasts and trainings, and surrounded myself with people that fueled my mind with- YES YOU CAN DO THIS KAYLEA!
I learned to stop letting other people’s opinions control my destiny. I learned that prayer and perseverance is all it takes sometimes. Once I started to recognize myself in God’s image and learned that I am absolutely capable of anything, I realized that I could do this and the only person stopping me before was myself. I let my own fears and insecurities get in the way which led me nowhere. I am so thankful and blessed for Arbonne and to my up line who said yes so that I could eventually say yes. I honestly never thought I would pursue a social marketing endeavor like this, but that was before when I didn’t have all of the facts. Now I am knowledgeable about the possibilities that lie ahead of me and I cannot wait to keep crushing my goals and so many people in the process! Just because you have a job does not mean you are immune from losing it. I am thankful I had my arbonne business to fall back on when I lost mine. Did you know that the average millionaire has at least 7 streams of income? If you only have one stream of income then you definitely need to keep reading.
Do you have a passion you are not prioritizing? Do you have a business venture you have always wanted to start? What is stopping you from pursuing it? Is it lack of funds? Did you know that it is only $49 to start your own business with Arbonne and only $20 if you’re already a preferred client? Do you know the tax benefits of owning your own business? Did you know that Arbonne has been around for 40 years and we are the largest certified vegan health and wellness company? Did you know that the health and wellness industry is projected to be a multi billion dollar industry next year? Did you know an eCommerce business is the way of the future? Ninety percent of the population uses the internet to purchase goods or services. Did you know that you can make commissions for simply sharing products you love? We live in a world of #influencers and celebrities forcing products down our throats, but what if you had access to your own “arbonne prime” account where you could buy from your own store every month and get paid to do it! That’s what I do and I can show you how.
What makes Arbonne different from every other company?
Arbonne is healthy living, inside and out. From the beginning, Arbonne has developed pure products with botanically based ingredients in scientifically tested formulas. We combine the best of science and nature to produce formulas that deliver incredible results.
Being Certified Arbonne Clean ™ begins with the ingredients that we use, taking the best from nature, and embracing the idea that healthy living starts from the inside out — what we choose to include in a product is just as important as what we choose to put on our skin or in our bodies. We choose carefully, so you can feel safe in the knowledge that we’ve done the research.
The advantage of Arbonne products is in our promise to deliver a holistic approach to healthy living, inside and out, with cleaner formulas for better skincare results and plant-powered nutrition. Arbonne products are formulated according to our pure, safe, beneficial™ philosophy.
Our NOT ALLOWED List™ includes more than 2,000 ingredients — nearly 1,400 from the European Union, plus several hundred more — that we won’t use in any of our formulas across our categories including skincare, personal care, hair care, nutrition, and makeup.
Healthy living inside and out includes what we choose to include in a formula — and what we don’t. This list directly reflects Arbonne’s rigorous screening of ingredients, our research, and enhanced safety requirements that ultimately result in safer ingredient choices and effective products in line with our pure, safe, beneficial™ philosophy and further defines what it means to be Certified Arbonne Clean™. We go above and beyond because we care.
At Arbonne, we have been on a green journey since 1980 and always will be. From botanically based ingredients to forward-looking green improvements, being earth friendly has everything to do with who we are and how we choose to grow. It is a core part of Arbonne’s mission to continue to evolve our sustainability commitment. We are dedicated to helping create a more sustainable future and making a positive difference and leaving a lighter footprint on the planet.
The wonderful thing about Arbonne is that it’s not just about great products — it’s also about great people. The Arbonne family is made up of thousands of individuals working to make their dreams come true. Through sales incentives and rewards, travel opportunities, a competitive SuccessPlan and great products, Arbonne offers a unique opportunity that can help make anyone’s vision for the future a reality.
What Does Your Future Hold?
Where do you want to be in five years? What if starting an Arbonne side hustle could be the avenue that fuels your passion? What if you could help change lives by simple sharing amazing products? What if you could pay off your debt because you chose to say no to fear and YES to opportunity? What if you could stay at home with your kids? What if you had more time freedom to live your best life? If you are still reading this and any of this resonated with you then we definitely need to chat! I am not encouraging you to quit your job. I am encouraging you to have an open mind to what this opportunity could look like for you. Do you buy things like toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, lotion, anti aging products, nutrition supplements? Did you know that you could be getting them for free like I do?
Now before you go making a million and one excuses about why you wouldn’t do something like this you need to know your facts first. There is no stress because you are your own boss, no quotas, no time obligation, no requirement to buy any products, and no yearly or monthly maintenance fees. You get to decide how much time you put into building your business. You will be surrounded by a team ready to cheer you on and spoil you with gifts and travel the world with you! Do you recommend products to your friends and family that you love? Do you recommend restaurants and fun places to travel? Guess what? You are already doing social marketing…..you just aren’t getting paid to do it! Owning a social marketing business is wise yall! With my company, all that is required is the $49 consultant fee to start your own business which pays for your website! This is a one time fee. Consultants do NOT get paid on signing people up- we only get paid commissions on products sold which is how the rest of businesses in this world work.
Starting a side business is definitely not for everyone though I will say. If you have a positive mindset, do not let fear rule your life, have a true desire to help others, own a cell phone, and refuse to give up, then you literally have everything it takes to be successful in this business. If I can do it then so can you!
I can still feel the salty breeze on my face and warm sunshine in my eyes as I rode down the infamous CA- 1 in a beautiful (rented) white BMW convertible. I remember landing in San Francisco and feeling so happy to finally be taking the trip of my dreams to celebrate 30 years on this earth. Who else was obsessed with the TV shows the O.C. and Laguna Beach growing up?? I have always wanted to visit California and ride all along the coastline in a convertible since as far back as I can remember, and boy oh boy it was everything I imagined and more. I had this trip planned out months before we arrived and the one thing I knew I wanted was to rent a convertible. This is the ONE piece of my trip I am so glad I did not skimp on. God must have been smiling down on us the day we arrived, because we were surprised with a free upgrade to a brand new BMW instead of the cheaper version we originally rented. Ya’ll I felt like I had finally made it in life when they handed me the keys lol. I had just lost my corporate job a few days before I left for my California birthday trip, and Lord knew I needed to feel His presence more than ever on this journey. This post has been a little hard for me to write as I am no longer with the person I went on this trip with, but at the time I was completely in love. This was one of the best trips I have ever taken and it’s just too good not to share with the world.
The very first stop we made was obviously to the GOAT fast food joint, In-N-Out Burger. I looked up all of the secret menu items on the plane and already knew I was going to order the animal style fries and burger and it was literally heaven in my mouth after a long day of traveling. Southwest actually hooked us up with non-stop flights into San Francisco from Nashville for less than $300 a person round trip. WINNING! Then we settled into the cutest boutique hotel close to the airport and hit the hay as we had a jam packed week of fun ahead of us.
The next morning we hopped in the convertible and did a little San Francisco Bay exploring before hitting the road to Big Sur. Instead of opting for Starbucks where you can get anywhere, I stumbled upon the most adorable coffee shop called Never Too Latte. I had the most delicious red velvet cake latte and breakfast croissant sandwich.
I wrapped a scarf around my head so my hair wouldn’t blow in my face, started jamming to my California spotify playlist and hit the road to find a little greenery for our trip. Ya’ll, I was that girl in High School who hardly ever drank and definitely didn’t come anywhere close to doing drugs. However, as a recently new 30 year old woman and in a state where Marijuana is legal, I thought what the heck why not? #YOLO. Sorry Mimi if you’re reading this haha! I walked into a brick and mortar store called The Green Cross and was immediately surprised by all of the sick people lined up to get their dose of medicine. It made me so sad seeing these people in pain, and people with no hair who had obviously been through chemo treatment. It definitely opened my eyes to the medicinal benefits of marijuana and decided to try it out for myself. Lets just say it made the memory of losing my job disappear fairly quickly and made me a lot more relaxed driving over scary cliffs by the waters edge lol. I think it is worth mentioning that I absolutely do not condone getting high in states where it is not legal, but hey it made the trip a lot more interesting, lets just be real ya’ll.
After we got happy, we set off for the beautiful Big Sur area. We made several stops on the way and took pictures at the famous Bixby Creek Bridge and Pacific Coast’s Edge. We also stopped at Caramel By the Sea. I highly recommend going here for at least a day because it is the cutest town with so much character and the foodie in me was so impressed.
I have never been camping in my entire life and it has always been something I have wanted to do. I knew if I was going to be surrounded by the beautiful Red Woods in Big Sur, I wanted to actually experience the nature around me. So instead of opting for a boujee hotel, I found the most romantic resort offering #glamping at Ventana Big Sur. Now I am from the south and can rough it with the best of them, but having an electrical outlet and running water to brush my teeth was really nice.
I mean how adorable are these #glamping tents? For those of you who don’t know what glamping is, its glamorous camping for divas like me. I was genuinely in awe when we pulled up to our camp site. Our camp site was very private and right next to the bathrooms—score! It came equipped with a fire pit, sink and mirror, basket with wine and smores’ and the sweetest note welcoming me for my birthday trip. Ventana even had a personal concierge service where you could text a number and someone would bring you anything you need in a golf cart…..like cheese fries when you have the munchies at 9 PM lol. This is luxury camping at its finest ya’ll and I did thorough research before choosing to stay here. They even offered complimentary coffee and breakfast at the Sur Stream Cafe that you could walk to and outdoor yoga every morning.
The Sur Stream turned into a bar and spot for live music and BBQ during the evenings. It was such a blast and we had fun meeting the fellow campers. I cant even describe the beauty that surrounded me. I was in awe driving through the enormous redwood trees. These are some of the oldest trees in the US and the energy there was unlike anything I had ever felt. I slept like a baby every single night and felt an inner peace that my heart really needed at that time.
The next morning we ate breakfast at The Sur House and got ready for our hike. We scheduled a photography class with a local expert which was very unique. We had a blast learning about the culture of Big Sur and how the locals are like one big family. Big Sur is a fairly small town with a population of less than 5,000 but full of exquisite beauty. Its the best of both worlds because you get the beautiful turquoise waters and huge waves crashing against the mountainside. Just a few miles inland and you are among some of the best hiking trails in the US. Its no wonder everyone wants to live in California. Not to mention the weather is perfect and there is absolutely no need for air conditioning at night sleeping outside below the trees.
We were able to witness several California condors, an endangered species which is very rare to see. We filled up a canteen of fresh mineral water and found the “local’s shower” where hikers and travelers can bathe in a natural spring water. I was captivated by the infinite beauty and quickly learned how to keep my succulents alive at home. The wildflowers and succulents grew everywhere even on rocks. I think God spent a little extra time on this piece of the earth and its something everyone should witness before they die.
Big Sur is hands down one of my favorite places on earth that I have traveled. I left a piece of my heart in there and cant wait to go back! If I could plan my trip again I would have definitely allotted more time there. After our hike we went back to the camp site, freshened up, and headed off to our first dinner reservation at the resort. We ordered six courses and ate until our bellies were going to explode but damn it was worth it. The pictures don’t even do it justice…our meal and service was that good. Even if you’re not staying at Ventana I highly recommend eating at the Sur House.
I mean if heaven existed on a plate this was it. The flavor combinations and presentation are what dreams are made of. I personally love it when I go to a restaurant and have to look up what half of the menu items are, because that’s how you step out of your comfort zone. I always make it a goal on every trip to try a local dish that I have never ever tried before. I am a huge seafood lover and knowing that I was eating fresh sea to table made me feel like what I was putting into my body was gold.
We came back to our tent extremely relaxed after our meal, built a fire at our campsite and gazed at the beautiful stars in the sky trying to figure out which constellations we were witnessing. It was a truly romantic evening that ended with a skinny dip in the Japanese bath houses at 2 AM. I bet you didn’t see that coming did you? Ventana offers an experience to bathe in a heated pool with no roof and all you can see are the beautiful stars above you. It is very private but also completely exhilarating because you never know if someone is going to walk in! I look back and wonder if I was in a dream or the middle of a romance novel. We woke up in the middle of the night and knew we had to take advantage of the bath houses when nobody was awake. We stole a golf cart because we couldn’t get there fast enough, giggling and holding hands the entire way, and finally found the exclusive bath houses in the dark tucked away from the rest of the world. We stripped down, kissed each other like we meant it, dipped our toes in the warm pool and made love under the stars with God as our witness. It was a magical night I will never forget.
Okay, sorry not sorry for going all Taylor Swift intimate and personal on yall, but if you’re looking for a romantic vacation this is THE place to go! We woke up the next morning with hearts so full but sad knowing we had to leave that day. I wanted to stay longer but knew we had more of beautiful California state to see, and we all know I didn’t plan a trip to California without going to Wine Country…..Napa here we come baby! We stopped at the most pleasant and (packed) local breakfast joint called Big Sur Bakery on the way out, and ordered enough gluten and sugar filled pastries to feed an army. But what kind of crazy people actually diet on vacation?? Not this woman- so bring on the glutton baby!
This is what thirty and thriving and living my best life looks like ya’ll. Was it 10 AM in the morning with a fine glass of red wine? Well yes, because if you have ever been to Wine Country you would know that there is very little time to bounce around to your favorites and get wine drunk. It is called wine COUNTRY for a reason as there are over 300 vineyards within this glorious region. We visited two of my favorite vineyards of all time Duckhorn and Ridge. I would definitively plan ahead and reserve a guided tour if you’re a #wino like me and curious to learn the history of how these magicians actually make their wine. I was surprised to see that the grapes used in my favorites were dark and almost smaller than blueberries. This is how you know the grapes you are buying in the grocery store have been showered with lots of chemicals to make them bigger than they really should be. We tasted some of the new collections, and I was fortunate our trip fell during Cabernet season (my favorite of all time). The Ridge tour was unique because we actually got to ride out and see the vineyard where the grapes are hand picked and learned about the wine making process more in depth. I really appreciated the wine and cheese pairings at Duckhorn because what woman doesn’t love cheese with their wine for breakfast? I wish I could have taken a barrel home with me and bathed in it, because that’s how much I love this wine, but of course they wouldn’t let me haha. Next time I am bringing my best girl friends and fellow wine snobs and we are getting a limo to ride around to different tastings!
Napa Valley is only an hour and a half drive to San Francisco so we decided to spend our last few days in California really exploring the city. We spent the day at Pier 39 playing with the sea lions….just kidding I wish. They were so cute and looked like they just loved snuggling up on each other. We had some beignets that were definitely not a good as New Orleans style beignets, but the whole soft shell crab and shrimp as big as my hand were unforgettable. I wish I could postmates that to me right now. Then we got dressed up and a little fancy for our last dinner reservation at the Water Bar. Regarded as San Francisco’s foremost seafood restaurant, WaterBar continues to set new standards of sustainability, variety, and excellence in the sourcing, preparation and presentation of food from the sea. Waterbar is situated in a prime location on the waterfront of San Francisco’s Embarcadero, just south of the “Cupid’s Span” sculpture, featuring panoramic views of the bay, Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and the San Francisco skyline. Pat Kuleto’s unique design for Waterbar features an extravagant, cascading oyster bar and dramatic floor-to-ceiling aquariums, which serve as the restaurant’s focal point.
We ate enough seafood that night that I literally thought my stomach was going to explode, but my weakness are oysters and seafood so give it to me i’m worth it. The view was stunning and I felt like a princess that night all glammed up and feasting like a queen. We went to bed fat and happy and arose the next morning with tears in our eyes because we had truly found the #goodplace. If only Kristen Bell could have been there to drink wine and make me laugh and torture my ex boyfriend now lol. Well for those of you who don’t know me well, I am not always the most punctual person. I completely underestimate the time that it actually takes to complete a task, such as driving to the airport in San Francisco traffic. Well….we returned our beautiful convertible rental in time and scurried off to check our bags all to have the nice southwest lady tell us that we were going to miss our flight. Well what on earth were we going to do now? We didn’t have a traditional 9-5 job to get back to, so we were able to change our flight for the next day on the red eye flight home. Guess what that meant? An amazing curve ball was thrown our way and we had the most beautiful detour to LAKE TAHOE! It was only three hours away and this was the only day I was truly glad to miss a flight.
The cherry on top? We made it back in time to reserve the same convertible for an extra two days. There were definitely travel angels looking down on us this trip. I was able to find the most stunning AirBnb cabin and booked it instantly the same day. It was at the top of the mountain 6200 feet alove sea level, and I have never felt altitude sickness until that day. I ended up either getting a stomach bug or so nauseous from the altitude that I spent the entire night hovered over a toilet. Travel isn’t always fun and glamorous y’all. So word to the wise, get yourself some Dramamine if you are a southerner like me and used to flat lands lol. Needless to say, I pulled myself together so we could explore the beauty that Lake Tahoe had to offer. I want to go back and spend a week there. The water is completely stunning and so clear…or so I thought. Lake Tahoe actually does not get its iconic blue tint because the water is so clear. Instead, the lake’s blueness comes from the amount of algae in the water. If only I had enough money to buy a yacht and a second home in Tahoe I would in a heartbeat. You get the best of both worlds being able to ski in the winter seasons and play in the water during the summer. The more I write this post the more I am convincing myself I should move out west. As we wrapped up our 9 day California #roadtrip, I felt a joy my heart I have never felt before. I felt more cultured, knowledgeable and refreshed than I had in an entire year. It was an experience of a lifetime and I encourage each of you to try to make the road trip of your dreams to great state of California.
The best travel advice I can give you when traveling is to let yourself go. Let yourself experience the beauty of Gods masterpiece. Learn to appreciate your surroundings and gain local knowledge. Live in the moment and put your phone and camera down often to be present and make lasting memories. If something doesn’t go according to your planned out itinerary, that’s totally okay because you never know when you just might end up in Lake Tahoe throwing up your guts haha j/k. Sometimes your trip isn’t so perfect after all, but make it unforgettable and make it yours. You are the only one with your perspective so don’t be afraid to share that with the world.
“I believe that traveling to spectacular destinations should entice a heart shift to reevaluate if you are meant to live in one spot the rest of your life. On the contrary, travel can make you miss home more than ever and realize that maybe you’re exactly where you are meant to be after all. “
Life is freaking hard ya’ll. Sometimes ‘adulting’ is so overrated lets get real. I look and laugh at my dog, Dixie, and am often envious of her life sometimes—-oh to be able to play, eat sleep, and repeat every day and not have any stress LOL. Every single one of us is fighting a personal battle and trying to do the best we can. We hear of awful things happening in the news, trouble at home, at work, or with our friends and family. Our world is overcome with disease, death, hardship, job loss, relationship struggles, marriage struggles, loss of friendships, spiritual warfare, difficulties raising children, etc. I can speak from experience that these battles can be crippling at times if you don’t have the right mindset, tools and faith to overcome these obstacles.
I actually mentioned in my last post that “God wont give us anything we cant handle.” I have come to learn that is simply not true. God ABSOLUTELY will give us things we cannot handle, and that is because we cannot handle it on our own if we try. As hard as it may be at times, we have to let go and give it to God. We are called to cast our worries and fears and place them in God’s hands. If we try to handle things on our own and in our own way, then you will likely not get the result you want and end up feeling more lost and disappointed.
We are not in control of other people’s actions and hurtful behavior, BUT we are in control of how we react and respond. We are in control of our mindset and how we choose to overcome obstacles. Do you find yourself immediately going into panic mode and trying to “fix” a situation whenever you hit a little bump or even major pothole in the road? Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and anxious and searching for answers of what to do next? That is human nature, but there is another solution. I encourage you to be still and pray. Instead of trying to find the answers for a solution on your own, try to TRUST that God is always on your side. Try giving your worries and stress over to God. Whenever you do not understand what is happening in your life, try to take a deep breath and pray something like this:
“God, I have no idea how to handle this situation and I need your help. I am giving this over to you. I trust that you will make my paths straight. I trust that whatever the outcome may be, even if its not the outcome that I WANT, you have a much bigger plan beyond my comprehension. I have faith in Your plan and realize I cannot control other people and every situation in my life. I give this burden to you and ask for your help, guidance and mercy. Lord if its not Your will, let it slip through my grasp and give me the peace not to worry about it.”
Its human nature to feel stubborn and think that we can do everything on our own. It’s human nature to be scared to ASK for help. I used to think asking for help was a sign of weakness and it showed I didn’t have it all figured out….and I don’t have it figured out! God has truly humbled me and showed me that I cannot walk through this life alone and without Him. I could do that but I would be missing out on so many rewards and blessings that he has for my life.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37
The pain that you may be feeling, cannot compare to the joy that is coming. God is our refuge, strength and our ever-present help in trouble. God doesn’t give the hardest battles to His toughest soldiers. He CREATES the toughest soldiers through life’s hardest battles. Try not to forget that you are human though. It’s OKAY to have a melt down. Its OKAY to not have it all figured out all the time…just try not to unpack it all and live there forever. Its OKAY to cry it out and feel those emotions, but then once you are done try to refocus on your future and where you’re headed with God on your side.
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. The Devil is constantly trying to win us over and put a roadblock in between our stairway to God. Whenever you hear those nasty little voices inside your head telling you cant, that you’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough, successful enough, talented enough, pretty enough, strong enough…REBUKE THOSE THOUGHTS immediately because its the biggest lie you could EVER believe about yourself, and that exactly where the Devil wants you! Don’t let him win!
You are beautiful! You are strong! You are capable! You are loved! You are inspiring! You are talented! You are blessed! You are a child of God! You are unstoppable! You are a great friend! You are a great son and daughter! You are a great parent! You are capable of crushing your goals! You are forgiven! You are redeemed! You are accepted! You are victorious! You are created in the image of God! You are strong and you are NEVER alone! You can be whoever YOU want to be if you believe in yourself enough and learn to see yourself the way that God sees you. Our true values do not lie in our abilities, but rather in our identity as a Child of God. Your identity is not your sin and your sin does not define you, but your identity is in your SAVIOR.
Who were you created to be? What are your dreams? What are your goals? Our identity drives our actions. Start to pay attention to the little voice inside your head. What is it saying to you? Is it making excuses and saying I cant do that or i’m not good enough? Or is that little voice saying HELL YES i can do anything I set my mind to? Is that little voice in your head positive or negative? Is it judgmental of others? Guess what honey, NOBODY on this earth is perfect and at the end of the day the only one who has the authority to judge you is God! So stop letting other people’s opinions of you control YOUR LIFE! Its human nature to judge people, I get it and am guilty of it too, but try to remember that its not your place to judge. Unless you are perfect, and I dang sure haven’t met a perfect person in my life, then its not OK to judge others and its not OK to let others opinions drive your destiny. Stop giving that control to other people and learn how to take the reigns of your life back and live your life according to His will and purpose.
“We are God’s masterpiece.” Ephesians 2:20
If you don’t know what your purpose is then that’s okay too. I would encourage you to dive into the word as much as you can. Pray often and pray hard. Give your worries and fears to God. Start surrounding yourself with POSITIVE people and people who speak truth to you. Start loving yourself a little more and taking care of your beautiful body. In time you will learn to love yourself the way God loves you. Your worth is not defined by your relationships, your bank account, your job, your looks, or your body. Your worth is in JESUS CHRIST alone! How amazing is it that we have such a forgiving, loving, and merciful Savior who offers hope that this world simply cannot give?
One thing I do every single morning is write down three things i am thankful for. It can be as minute as my cozy bed or as big as my friends and family. Staying grateful and having a heart full of gratitude will make it easier to rebuke those negative thoughts inside your head. Staying grateful and positive will help you see the best in yourself and the best in others. I encourage you to try this out for a month and let me know your results. It takes 33 days to form a habit. What’s stopping you? Are you the only one holding yourself back???
It has taken me two years to forgive you. I left my home in Mississippi and ran to Nashville, TN to start over after you tried to destroy my heart and my dignity. I know I will never receive the apology from you that I deserve. I know I was naive to ever believed you loved me. No means no. I should have never felt fearful of someone I loved. There is no fear in true love.
I know now that forgiveness comes in waves and it is the only way to truly move on. Choosing to forgive you was the bravest thing I have ever done. Learning to see you for who you really were was the most freeing moment of my life. You tortured me with your mind games and abused me emotionally, physically and sexually. I know now that it is a reflection of your heart and not mine. I have struggled with PTSD from the trauma you brought into my life but it has only made me stronger. PTSD is something I have never had to deal with before and it changed my life. I began to believe the awful things you said about me but I have learned that time, patience and prayer heals all wounds. I began to believe the devil whispering into my ear that dying would be easier than living through the hell you put me through. But the more I prayed, the more I realized that would be the most selfish thing I could ever do. So many friends and family love me in a way you never could, and most importantly my Savior loves me more than anyone on this earth and in that I find never ending hope and peace. Thank you for helping shape my story so I can now use my pain to help others see the light.
For me, writing has a way of setting your soul free and digging deeper into the depths of ones soul and trauma that is suppressed. So I am writing this post to say THANK YOU. Thank you for hurting me and forcing me to become a stronger woman. Thank you for helping me become more aware of evil and less naive. Thank you for showing me what red flags to look for in future partners. Thank you for breaking me so I could rely on God to fill my cup instead of relying on you. Thank you for closing a door so a new one could be opened. Thank you for setting me free so God can place a real man into my life who serves the Lord and helps keep God in the center of our relationship.
To anyone who is reading this- I hope you take away one main thing. I hope you know that you are beautiful and loved so deeply beyond comprehension by our Savior Jesus Christ! We are all imperfect and sin every single day. Its OKAY to walk away from toxicity in your life. It may be a boyfriend, friend, or even a family member. If someone belittles you, physically and/or emotionally abuses you, rapes you, abandons you, or makes you feel like you are hard to love, then its time to walk away and reevaluate if this person adds value to your life. God has a plan for your life and His plan does not include living in fear, judgement or pain.
I encourage you to pray hard even on your worst days when you feel like giving up. Pray for those who have hurt you. Keep praying for the ones who are too prideful to apologize. Keep praying for them because God is capable of MIRACLES. God is capable of transforming hearts and transforming your life! Forgiving someone DOES NOT mean that you have to allow someone to stay in your life and keep tormenting and hurting you. Forgiving someone means you can let them go, if necessary, which allows God to remove any anger and bitterness from your heart that may be holding you back from your true destiny.
I wrote my ex boyfriend this poem two years ago after he hurt my heart, mind and body for the very last time. This is the first time I am sharing it with anyone so please excuse any typos and grammar errors. I hope that this brings a little courage to anyone going through a tragedy similar to mine. I pray that my story can be a beacon of light for someone feeling trapped and scared for their life. I hope that you know that its OKAY and its necessary to walk away. Walking away and going no contact is the best thing you can do in order for your heart to heal. You will start to love your self a little more each day, breathe a little easier, laugh a little harder and pray more than you ever have before in your life. God does not give us any battle we cannot handle. God’s got your back and has been there all along. Don’t give up now because with God on your side anything truly is possible!
You were just the boy next door, making my heart fall to the floor
Your hands all over my skin drawing me in, damn loving you was my greatest sin
How could I have known I was staring into the Devil’s eyes? I was captivated by your roller coaster ride
Can you truly know a man who fools your soul? Where are all of the other hearts you stole?
Never knowing the truth, just blinded by an illusion of you
Now I am fearless and never looking back! I am ready to survive, yep I see right through your mask
Looking into the face of death, I have never felt more alive. Let’s let it all go now, let it all die
Oh honey, I’m not a pawn in your chess game anymore. I know now that monsters thrive on victims then grow bored
I’m slamming all my doors, so you cant throw me on the floor anymore
I’ll spread my wings through the shame and I’m looking up to the sky despite my pain
I underestimated your disguise behind the lies; leaving me with no other option but goodbye.
Loving you was a hell I never want to relive. If only God can help me forgive.
Who do you really think you are, tying to control my heart?
Laughing in the face of love, Are you really only after blood?
Oh baby, you think you did a number on me, but you lost your own battle and now I’m finally fucking free!