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Share-My-Story Series: Kara

Share-My-Story Series: Kara

I am excited for you to read Kara’s story. Kara has overcome some serious health issues and has applied self-compassion during the process. Kara is someone who serves constantly on top of her already very busy life. She’s never too busy to help someone in need. I love that about her. She has a platform and podcast that is called Today I am Enough. I highly recommend it.

Kara’s Story:

One evening in 2016 I was lying in bed with my husband talking about how I just felt like I was falling short in every single aspect of my life. I was frustrated, tired, and beating myself up over all of it. Then, a thought came – you are not alone in these feelings. I knew deep inside that so many other women struggled to feel like they were measuring up to their own standards. I felt compelled to do something about it. At the beginning of 2017 I launched the first episode of the Today I am Enough Podcast. I was excited. I was going to be sharing stories of women who had stories of struggle and of enduring and finding themselves. I loved it. I loved talking to women from so many backgrounds and experiences. As time progressed, I felt a disconnect with my own story. What was my story?  After about a year, I became overwhelmed with my own life and the podcast trickled into the background of my life. I’m a mom of 6 kids, who are 7 years apart, and like all moms, they keep me busy. I could feel myself slipping. I did not know my own worth deep down. I knew I needed to do some work on myself in order to really propel my work with Today I am Enough forward. In December of 2018 I was diagnosed with a VERY low thyroid after some unexplained weight gain, excessive tiredness, hair loss, and anxiety. Six months later I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s autoimmune disease. I really struggled to love myself. My body was broken. It wasn’t working the way it was meant to work. I couldn’t do things I loved doing. I couldn’t eat what I wanted to eat if I wanted to help bring this disease into remission. I was so mad at my body for breaking down on me.  I have been blessed to know Brittany for a while as a neighbor and friend. She came out with her Self-Compassion workbook and I knew I needed to get my hands on it. I was so grateful for it! Brittany’s workbook really helped me understand how I was thinking about my new found body. It helped me really work through my thoughts and feelings of what was happening to me and what had happened and how I could still find joy moving forward. Learning to change my thought patterns from Brittany’s book was the beginning of my life changing and starting anew! I started to realize the power behind my own thoughts. You can either wallow and allow yourselves to really go places in our heads that you shouldn’t, or you can offer love and compassion to yourselves in a way that only you can do for yourselves! Learning to forgive myself, and learning to redirect my thoughts, to thoughts that weren’t hurting me, but were lifting me, was incredibly powerful.  In January of 2021 I was able to relaunch my podcast. I have a renewed mission to help women, as Brittany helped me. Learning that you are enough and have worth is essential. It is always within you. It never leaves. Your worth is a part of you. Each day looks different, but the effort you can put forth today may look different than the effort you put forward tomorrow – but both are enough! You don’t have to be busy and doing things all the time to be enough.Learning to forgive yourself is life changing. When you can learn to forgive yourself life opens up possibilities that were unimaginable before. When you forgive, you start to accept yourselves for who you are without the need for change or judgement. Learning to speak kindly to the women looking in the mirror is going to give you confidence and love for others. She is so important! Be kind to her. Stop saying things to her that you’d never want anyone else to ever hear. She’s worth taking care of, I promise! She’s incredible. She’s enoug

Share-My-Story Series: Laura

Share-My-Story Series: Laura

This week Laura shares her story of overcoming an eating disorder and using her knowledge to help thousands of other women do the same. Laura is a gem. She is one of those people you could talk to forever because you instantly feel connected to her. I’m honored to know her and have personally benefitted from her gratitude journals. I use mine every single morning. Go check them out on her website Remarkable Now.

Laura’s Story:

I am so excited to share my story here on Brittany’s blog!  When I found out about Brittany’s mission to connect and empower women through getting out in nature and finding common ground with each other, I immediately felt connected to her.  Connection and nature are two of the most healing tools we have on this earth and have played a major role in my life.

About seven years ago, I recovered from a 16 yr long battle with an eating disorder.  Through six of my seven children, I struggled with this disorder that left me feeling alone, broken, and un-fixable.  I never wanted to talk about it with other people, because I felt like I was the only woman in the world who struggled like I did.  I just knew there was something wrong with me, and worried that despite all my best efforts, I would never find true peace with my body.  

After the birth of my sixth child, I ended up with a severe thyroid condition that forced me to finally give up control, since I literally had no control.  It was the hardest and BEST thing that ever happened to me…as most challenges in life are.  In an attempt to figure out who I really was (seperate from my disorder) I focused on one thing and one thing only.  Gratitude.  Every morning and every evening I would write five things I was grateful for.  That was it.  Day in and day out, that was the ONLY thing I did.  Seems so simple, and it is…but it changed my life.  Gratitude changed my life.  Over the course of the next year, gratitude for everything else around me turned into gratitude for myself and gratitude for the gifts God blessed me with and my eyes opened to who I was and what I was meant to do.  

During my recovery, nature became a sanctuary for me, a sacred place to go to connect with my spirit and to God.  There was one hike I would go on 2-3x/week, and I would grab a rock at the bottom of the hike and make that rock the concern or burden I was carrying that day, and then take that rock to the very top and then unload it.  I would leave that burden at the top of the highest mountain, and every single time, I felt peace.  There is something about nature that speaks to our souls, to our very spirits, and that kind of connection was exactly what I needed.  I needed to connect my spirit and my body and find alignment again.  I found that on my mountain.

When I finally got the courage to speak about my struggle…literally tearing up and shaking as I wrote my very first post to tell my story, the most beautiful thing happened.  Connection.  Turns out, every single one of us is broken in some beautiful way.  Turns out, I wasn’t different from everyone else, but actually just like everyone else.  The truth that we all hurt, we all struggle, we are all human and broken is what saved me and continues to save me.

What I LOVE about what Britanny is doing with Get Out There Girl is that she is combining two powerful forces of change.  Connection and Nature.  The combination can be life-changing.  Putting yourself in an environment where you can feel your spirit speak to you, and then having the opportunity to connect with other remarkable woman who also struggle and also hurt, but also give and also love is truly a gift.  When we connect with other women, we connect with our power.  The power to change the world in our homes and in our communities, the power to truly see our gifts and our strengths, and ultimately the power to heal.  

Share-My-Story Series: Melissa

Share-My-Story Series: Melissa

I am so grateful for each woman who shares her story with us. There is power in connection and vulnerability. Melissa is an amazing woman who I love being around. She radiates a love for life that is contagious. You can feel her strength and her resilience when you are around her. When you read her story you will see that life hasn’t turned out the way she planned but she has embraced it and made it wonderful. I just love her attitude and her strength! Thank you for sharing and being a wonderful example to all of us Melissa.

Melissa’s Story:

When I was a teenager I imagined a yellow brick road to eternal bliss upon which I would perfectly make everyone in my circles happy and proud of me.  I would have a joyful marriage with adventures my husband would plan for us, a handful of kids and I would be totally appreciated as a stay-at-home mom.  Today I am 46 years old with 5 awesome kids.  I’ve been divorced twice and have needed YEARS of therapy to recover from two deeply damaging marriages (and divorces) and very low self-esteem. At times I felt hopeless, weak and all I could do was cry and wish for someone to come save me.

I have had to redefine my hopes and dreams and take charge of them myself.  Amazing therapists and my own determination have guided me to develop the strength to trust myself, learn my own value, and feel empowered to create my own happiness. It has been so hard and has not come naturally to me!  I now work full time, run my own household, and recognize that I no longer need or want someone to save me.  I have learned how to save myself!

I didn’t use to practice the art of being kind to myself.  Did you know perfection is impossible? It has taken time to gently understand that I am just doing the best I can in each deficient moment and with each mistake.  Instead of criticizing myself, I have worked to view each fall as a teaching moment and learn from it.  I needed to accept my imperfections and love myself exactly as I am.  This has been crucial!  Without even realizing it, I’m also teaching my kids about self-care by showing them what that looks like when I handle my mistakes with grace and take time for myself to go on adventures for personal fulfillment.

How does a single mom express her adventurous side?  “Mom Fieldtrips” with my incredible kids started out small with local hikes.  All we needed were shoes on our feet and a map on my phone.  As I have become more courageous, our activities have progressed into weekends out of town camping, spelunking, and strapping on microspikes so we can hike to frozen waterfalls.  

Another step in my journey has been slowly testing my courage without my kids. Last fall for the first time I spent a few weekends canyoneering and I even rappelled down a 300 foot drop-off!   I am so proud of myself.  When I head into the mountains I feel the weight of life on my shoulders.  Once I hit the trail those worries disappear because of the beauty surrounding me.  I’m the girl who exclaims every 10 feet, “Oh! What a gorgeous view!  Look at the river!  Can you hear the birds?”  Being out in nature is therapy for my soul.  

One thing that has been missing for me in these adventures has been connecting with women who are looking for the same thing.  Last fall I found Get Out There Girl and a few other female-based hiking groups.  In January I was able to go up to Starr Valley, Wyoming on a dogsledding weekend with Brittany and 10 women I had never met before.  I was nervous!  Would they like me?  Would I feel comfortable?  Would I like them?  I was thrilled to discover that each of these women also came seeking connection.  We shared about our relationships and experiences in open ways that allowed us to get to know each other’s hearts and intentions.  Brittany taught a workshop on vulnerability that resonated with me.  You get what you put into something.  If you come into a situation willing to listen and share with open hearts, you’re going to be able to connect with people who are doing the same thing.  

Life is happier when I am kind to myself and I make myself a priority.  I can’t wait to meet more women who are doing the same and to see where my next adventures will take me!

Share-My-Story Series: Ronda

Share-My-Story Series: Ronda

Ronda was my next-door neighbor in Virginia. She and her husband bought their home shortly after we bought ours. Our oldest two kids are the same ages and in fact, both of our 12-year-old’s are redheads. So fun! Ronda was the best neighbor. She always invited us over for holidays and other events. She and her husband Jason are such good people. Here’s the deal though, I never got to know Ronda on a deep level. I was so wrapped up in my busy life of two little kids etc. that I never asked her deeper questions. I never took the time to really get to know Ronda. I regret that. I’ve changed a lot since my struggle with depression etc. I value relationships more. I’m grateful Ronda and I still keep in touch through social media and I’m so so grateful she was willing to share her story of finding peace in herself and with God.

Ronda’s Story:

Hi, my name is Ronda. I am a wife, mother of 3 wild boys, and work in the SPED department at a local high school. I am originally from California, but have my current residence in northern Virginia. I have a big heart, and I am a people pleaser. As I get older (almost 45-years-old now) I am re-learning my worth. Also, since late in my teen years, I have longed for a place that felt like home. Can anyone relate?

I was raised in a what seemed like a perfect Christian home. I went to church with my family and went to private school until 6th grade. I never thought divorce would occur in my family. Fast forward to when I was about 19, and yep, my parents divorced. The only place that seemed normal was Grandma’s house. She and her home were exactly the same. It was safe and warm. Comfort at its finest. 

I decided when I was 24, I needed a new start, and moved to Louisiana. This is where my mom moved after the divorce and where my mother’s side of family lived. I thought for sure home will be there. Nope, not a fit. Wonderful people, but not a place for me. 

Fast forward a few years, and I move back to California. Met my husband and had our firstborn son. He got a call for a new job in Northern Virginia, and off into the sunset we went. As I sit here today, I cannot say Virginia has been bad. In fact, we have had 2 more sons, bought a house, and we both have fabulous jobs. Being in a new place and having young children I yearned for friends, other moms to hang out with and understand me, a place to feel my worth and to feel validated. So, I joined our elementary school PTO. I even eventually, became the PTO President. I am shaking my head at this right now. If you are looking to feel validated and worthy, the PTO is NOT where you will find it! I am in no way saying volunteering for PTO, or any organization is bad. In fact, I feel is necessary. Just not to the point of giving yourself away, to exhaustion. I really wanted to just share my time and talents. However, with the good comes the bad, and my people pleasing was in the forefront. I did learn and grow during this time and my PTO board and I were very successful, despite the heavy criticism.  We worked our tushes off! The only good thing to come from that experience was the close bonds of sisterhood I developed with three ladies, Becky, Amanda, and Letitia and the support we helped provide our children’s school. I already had about a handful of friends in another city 15 minutes south, but having sister like friendships 5 minutes from home was what I like to say was a divine intervention. God sent them to me. 

While I was PTO President, as I said above, I had severely depleted myself, in every way possible. I gave it all away and had nothing left for myself. With the help of my sisters and husband, I realized I was in desperate shape. January 2018, I made a change in my exercise and diet and realized I was worthy of better! And I then reached out to my step-sister in Utah. I needed an adventure! Nature was calling.

A few years ago, my husband, my boys, and I got a Groupon for a cabin in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The Smoky Mountains look and smell like Heaven on earth! I have never felt so much peace in my life! It felt like I was home! We have since been back twice. Once for our 10-year Anniversary and again with my father and family for Thanksgiving. Every time, it felt like home. If you want to make me happy, take me to the mountains. I never knew this about myself! Ronda, a mountain girl!

So, after I finished my duties in 2018 as PTO President, I knew I needed mountains. I traveled to Utah, Idaho, and Yellowstone, and visited with family and friends. I went white water rafting in Yellowstone. I went trap shooting with my dad in Yellowstone. I was home once again! Side note, I went without my kids or hubby. I needed time to be me. It is not selfish, it was necessary.

Long story short, I found my home in GOD! He gave me the friends my soul desired. He gave me the family that I needed. He has built this beautiful land for us to restore ourselves! He shows us we are worthy. We never need to question that! When we seek the worlds approval (PTO, friends or family who gossip, bad jobs, keeping up with the Jones’s, just to name a few), we will never find that validation. We will never find peace. You will never find your home. 

God never asks us to give more than we can give. We take that on ourselves. If we sit patiently, and we are rested for His work and needs, we will never be put out or tired. In fact, I know it is from God when I am full of joy and peace.

We are worthy and loved. He will supply all our needs. He will restore you! God is our home. Our comfort and peace. He will send you His best in friends. Most times, when God sends these special friends, they become family. You find comfort and understanding. You never have to fight for their attention. You never have to worry for their approval or if they will talk behind your back. When God sends his best, know your soul will feel complete. He will send you that perfect job! He did for me, and that is a whole other story!

And mommas, or daddies, when you need a moment to yourself. Go for that drive! Go to your place of peace. Smell that open air. You are worth it! You need that peace to be a complete and healthy person. You need time rest and restoration. You need HIM!

Share-My-Story Series: Shanan

Share-My-Story Series: Shanan

I met Shanan through GOTG. Shocking I know. 😉 After meeting at a rock climbing activity I found out Shanan doesn’t live far from me and we have done several things together since. Always fun. Always. That is one of the things I love about Shanan. She is always up for a good time. She loves adventuring and being outdoors. You will see in her story that she grew up being active outdoors. Mom life took it’s toll and now Shanan is fighting to gain that piece of her back. I’m so grateful Shanan was willing to share her story. I think a lot of us can relate to her.

Shanan’s Story:

Hi, I’m Shanan! I’ve lived in Utah my whole life. I Grew up in Southern Utah with amazing parents and siblings. My parents always took us camping, hiking, Rappeling, boating, snow skiing, riding horses, 4-wheeling & dirt biking. We were always outdoors having fun! I met the love of my life and got married right out of high school. We moved up to Utah county about 8 years ago. I have a wonderful, handsome, hardworking husband and 5 sweet kids that I adore! 
    I got married young and was either pregnant or had a new baby for 12 years. I loved this time of my life, and could just snuggle a newborn all day!! During this busy time in life, I kinda forgot about things I liked to do and any hobbies got put on the back burner. I’ve started to get back into some of them in the last couple of years and am loving it! I love going on little adventures with our crew and see my older kids develop a love for those activities too! 

I am no longer a lover of camping, but I do really like Glamping!! Some of my favorite adventures I’ve been able to get back into are hiking, canyoneering, snowboarding, & kayaking. When I’m out in this beautiful world that God has created it brings me peace and so much Joy! It helps me to be able to take a break from the stresses and trials of everyday life. It renews my soul and helps me be a better me! I feel genuinely happy when I’m outdoors doing these things and connecting with others! Women need Women. I’ve developed some close friendships during my adult life, but I am constantly yearning for belonging and more QUALITY friendships. People who love me for me. I love meeting new friends and it’s so nice when you meet someone that you just jive with and could talk to for hours on end. I’ve met some amazing women who have become great friends through adventuring, and I am so grateful for that.

I feel like I’m entering a new phase of life where I am able to explore and learn about myself through the outdoors and truly find things that I love for me. I’ve been in mom mode for so long and focused on such young kids that it’s been difficult to get to know myself well. Now that my baby is almost 3, I have a little more time to try new things and learn more about myself. I’m so thankful for such a wonderful and supportive husband who lets me have time for myself. My goal is to get him and my kids into all of these outdoor activities so that we can do them as a family as our kids continue to grow!

Share-My-Story Series: Delee

Share-My-Story Series: Delee

I met Delee on the Zipline Retreat. It was her birthday and the retreat was her birthday present. Delee radiates confidence and happiness. I love the story that she shares about connecting who she is and what she is passionate about with a mission to make the world a better place. That is true alignment if you ask me.

Delee’s Story:

I grew up in the Northwest on a small farm with a lot of room to explore. I spent my time playing with my siblings in the woods, working the farm, and chasing my pony who liked to run away down the street. As I became a teenager my friends, job, and appearance became my top priorities. Shopping was my main hobby and I spent almost all my hard-earned income on clothing. My budget changed as I went to cosmetology school, got married, and had four children by the time I was 31. I found myself shopping for clothing regularly, finding deals and discounts, and constantly rotating my wardrobe thinking I was doing some good by donating my clothing to charitable organizations. Then I found Slow Fashion. I stumbled upon a YouTube influencer who challenged my shopping habits and opened my eyes to the global impact of the fast-fashion world. I was shocked! Did you know we own 60% more clothing than our parent’s generation and we keep them half as long? Did you know there is currently enough clothing on our planet to clothe the next 6 generations? Did you know the fashion industry is the most labor-intense industry on the earth, and that most garment workers don’t make a living wage? I started making small changes, then bigger changes and eventually decided to start a business to help other women do the same. I am a wardrobe stylist who encourages my clients to love what they have and shop sustainably. What an adventure it has been! I find myself reconnecting with my childhood self. I have spent more time outdoors, enjoying long walks and hikes. For my birthday I chose an outdoor adventure, instead of shopping. (A zip line retreat with Brittany!) I have made new friends, so many incredible women! I have found my passion: Connecting with women, healing our planet, and making the world a better place for labor workers around the world. 

 “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall