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Share-My-Story Series: Ember

Share-My-Story Series: Ember

Life isn’t easy for anyone. No one gets a free pass for escaping life’s hard trials. Ember has been through a lot and has learned to choose self-compassion as she battles things that are out of her control. I look up to Ember and love her attitude. Something that she didn’t mention in her story is how she has been crushing her goals and keeping her commitments to herself. Self-compassion is motivating in the best way possible. Thank you for sharing Ember!

Ember’s Story:

As a busy mom of 5 kids over the span of 10 years, I was accustomed to being tired. As the symptoms started piling up, I knew something was wrong. The overwhelming fatigue, hair falling out, unexplained weight gain, anxiety, migraine headaches and depression were starting to dictate my everyday life. I set out on a quest to find out what was wrong. A few months later I found myself face to face with a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Disease (an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid).

It was a hard blow to me as an active mom, a dancer and an overall healthy woman who enjoys getting out and doing things with my kids and friends. As I searched for answers from medical professionals and started on my healing journey, I realized I needed to be gentle with myself through the whole process.

Ember skiing at Sundance

Once I was able to find answers and work through my medical issues, I embarked on a personal development journey to dig deep and rekindle the fire within me. I really focused on who I really was and accepting every part of me. I was able to manage my thoughts and have a more fulfilling life. I started choosing joy more often.

Then last summer I attended a “Get Out There Girl” Yoga retreat. The retreat was a culmination of many things for me. It was a peaceful getaway where I could just be me. It was a wonderful time to connect with Mother Nature and feel at peace. A safe place to connect with amazing women and learn from their life experiences. It was an awakening for my inner self as we did our Yoga practice each morning and evening. Next came the self-compassion workshop taught by Lisa Goff and it was just what I needed to hear and was a real culmination of my personal development journey. It felt like the last piece of the puzzle fell into place for me.

Ember at Gunlock Reservoir

I realized that I needed to be kinder to myself through the process of getting back to feeling more like myself. I needed to approach this stage of life with compassion and give myself space and time to heal. And also to allow myself to feel and process all the emotions that came along with it. I had been being gentle with myself, but this concept of self-compassion really opened my eyes and empowered me in a whole new way. It has been a wonderful gift that has helped me start feeling great again — both physically and mentally. Best of all, self-compassion is such an integrated part of my life and will continue to help me embrace every stage of life that comes my way.

Ember and her husband at Lower Calk Creek Falls

You can follow Ember on Instagram @emerge_empowered.

5 Tips For Hiking With Kids

5 Tips For Hiking With Kids

I love hiking with my kids. My kids haven’t always loved hiking with me.

I have learned several tricks over the years that have worked wonders.

Here are 5 of them:

1- Bring snacks! Bring things the kids consider treats and don’t get often. Once I brought Oreos and a thermos of milk to eat at the top of the hike. It was a huge hit. I also like to pack things that the kids can eat during the hike with out stopping. Fruit snacks, string cheese etc.

2- Have plenty of water. A dehydrated kid is a miserable kid. To keep your kids energy up make sure they are hydrating frequently during the hike. Stop and remind your kids to drink often! I have my kids carry their own water so I’m not carrying everything. Read the blog post I wrote all about how much I love these kids packs.

3- Bring friends. Having a friend along to chat with keeps kids distracted from tired legs or a hot sunny day. My kids have complained on a 1 mile hike when we have hiked alone and have happily finished an 8 mile hike when they’ve had friends along. It works magic!

4- Take time to stop and let the kids be curious. Don’t rush them to the end point. It takes patience. There is a balance to it because some kids would never make it to the destination if you let them stop every time they wanted. Encouraging your kids to finish the hike while also letting them explore at their pace is the goal. You want them to have a good experience so they want to go hiking again.

5- Don’t give up! If you have a bad experience hiking with your kids don’t throw in the towel. Kids have good days and bad days. Some experiences will be better than others. Follow my other tips and try again.

We stopped to play in the soft sand for a little while

Pierce loves sticks. He picks up several during our hikes and plays with them for a few minutes before realizing they are to heavy to carry for the entire hike. I often tell him we will get the sticks on our way back but he forgets and gets distracted with new sticks.
Kid Hiking Day Pack

Kid Hiking Day Pack

All packs are the same size and fit each of my kids ages 11, 9, 6, 3

I hike with my kids more than I hike alone. My younger three all look forward to hiking and enjoy it immensely. We bring snacks and often ask friends to come along to make our time outside even more enjoyable. (Notice how I said younger 3?! My oldest daughter complains every time I say we are going on a hike. As soon as we are on the hike she enjoys it but when we get home she says she was miserable. Tweens!)

A few years ago we invested in Camelbak day packs for each of our kids. They have been a wonderful addition to our hiking gear. This is the pack we purchased for each of them: CamelBak Mini M.U.L.E. Kids Hydration Backpack, 50 oz.They cost around $50 a piece and have been worth the investment for our family. We use them every single hike and have had them for years. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to not carry the water and snacks for all of them. Plus, we don’t have to stop every time someone needs a drink. Which is a huge bonus when hiking with kids. Everyone is able to drink while they hike. If someone wants a snack while they hike no problem, they just pull one out of their pack and eat while they hike. I’m not stopping, taking off my pack and searching through all my snacks to find something they like. It really is glorious! It’s the little things that add up to a smooth and enjoyable experience when hiking with kids.

These packs are one of the best ways to alleviate the stress and strain of hiking with your kids. They are lightweight, compact, and will hold 50 fl oz (1.5 L) of water for them to get drinks as they need. It does not have a hip belt but has contoured, padded shoulder straps with a chest strap that easily adjusts to your child’s changing size. All four of my kids (ages 11, 9, 6, 3) wear the exact same pack. It’s lightweight with a built-in safety whistle, extra storage pockets, and reflective accents for visibility in low-light environments.

I love our packs and highly recommend them.