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Share-My-Story Series: Emily

Share-My-Story Series: Emily

I met Emily through my husband’s work. She was gracious enough to go to lunch with me and share her business expertise. Ever since that day I have been drawn to Emily. Her positive energy and self confidence are contagious. Emily is a supportive friend who remembers details that other friends might forget. She is an amazing woman who adds value wherever she goes. I am so thankful she was willing to share her story. I learned a lot from her and I know you will as well.

Emily’s Story:

I think I was born with high self-esteem. I LOVE MYSELF. Truly. People ask how I learned to love myself so completely, but I don’t know, which is why I think I must have been born with it. I’m not the ideal body type and never have been, but that has never affected my deep-rooted knowledge that I am beautiful. I also think I’m pretty funny, but I’m self-aware enough to know that sometimes I’m the only one laughing at my jokes…and that’s ok! Something I want all women to know is that it’s not prideful to have self-love. 

Even with my insanely high self esteem, I’ve had times where I let people “get in my head”. I’m a bold and bright personality and there have been people close to me that in the name of “helping” tried to tone me down. I was told my passion, my appearance, my style, etc were not the norm and that I needed to tame them down to fit in and get ahead. 

In all my life, I’ve never tried to fit in, however as a responsible adult I wanted to listen to the feedback from people I thought had my best interest at heart. So, a few years ago I bought clothes that were more neutral, spoke up less in groups, dyed my hair blonde (I hated it, but a well meaning friend suggested it), and frankly got more boring. As a response to everything else being muted at that time, I dyed my hair bold red, and it’s a decision I will never regret (I LOVE it).

Now, I have plenty of room for improvement, but it took some time and skill to learn to differentiate between the people in my life that truly had my best interest at heart and those that cared more about appearances and didn’t understand my unique ability to not care what the generic public thinks of me (I reserve the caring for my inner circle). 

My “wake up” moment was meeting, Bob, the kind of person that is your instant best friend. Almost in the first breath, he had me googling “Bob Quick’s Journey” to see for myself his amazing accomplishments, including bicycling across america (3x), having 32 heart procedures in the last 16 years, 20 stents, and most recently a quadruple bypass surgery. We became friends on Facebook and he is continually the most encouraging and positive person. I met Bob when he was at work, helping me buy a new door. Even in a professional setting, he could completely own who he is and Bob’s total openness instantly endeared me to him. Bob’s light sparked the realization (or perhaps remembrance) that it’s our beautiful differences that not only make us human, but also attract friendships. 

I moved into a new house during the couple of years I spent suppressing my more bold nature and truly struggled to make close friends. I love all my neighbors and positively feel a friendship with all of them, but had no best friend. I shed many tears seeing women enjoy close friendships, but honestly didn’t know how to forge one of my own. It was hard. I went on a lot of solo hikes during that time (the mountains are my balm). There’s something about the fresh air, achieving a new height, feeling the refreshing spray of a waterfall, meandering a trail, and enjoying God’s varied creations that fills my soul with peace and joy. It’s a renewal that I treasure!

Something that held me back from inviting friends hiking, is that I’m very slow. But, this last Summer I pushed past my worry that I’d hold my more spry friends back and shared some great hikes and walks with a few incredible women, and on occasion their families. Communing with nature and people is a magical combo.

The reclaiming of my oddities this past year opened the door to finally making some dear friends, which has been very fulfilling. It takes some serious faith to let go of inhibition and “bee yourself” (as the genie in Aladdin says), but it has greatly helped me connect with people in deeper, more meaningful ways. Accept yourself flaws and all, and I believe that invites others to feel comfortable being their flawed self with you. 

P.S. I love people and making new friends, if you do too let’s connect on Instagram @mcleanentertain

Share-My-Story Series: Kami

Share-My-Story Series: Kami

I’m so excited to share Kami’s story with you. Kami is smart, determined, kind, and genuine. She is one of my closest friends who I admire because of her unconditional love for people, (me included). I love and agree with the advice Kami gave as she shared her story.

Side Note: Kami announced something big to me in this story. See if you can figure out what it is. I’ll tell you at the end so you can see if you were right.

“I absolutely love being a mom! Some may think it’s silly, but that’s all I ever wanted to be when I grew up! From the second I got married at 22 I wanted kids. But my sweet and very smart husband said that I needed to finish my degree before kids or I would never do it after!

It took me 4 long years to finish my degree while working full time, but I did it!! The following month we got pregnant. I was very fortunate that I was able to quit my full-time job and stay home with my little one. Life was amazing for the first couple of weeks while my husband was home and we had family in town to keep me company, but I soon found that being home all day and not being able to get out freely was lonely.

I am shy but very extroverted and I craved being around people. Prior to this precious little bean my husband and I worked out daily together after work, or I went running with friends! I worked out up until the day that I gave birth, and I loved every minute of it! It was my time, where I felt free… I was either having great conversation connecting with friends on runs or listening to music at the gym clearing my mind! It was and still is very therapeutic for me.

Fast forward 8 years and I now have 3 amazing little boys that are 7.5, 6, and 3, with one on the way! They fill my life with so much fun, energy, pure happiness, and love! Yet I still need “me” time.

It took me many years to understand that it was okay to love to be a mom, but also okay to need to getaway! I used to feel guilty when I would complain about a job that I loved and even guiltier when I would say “I just need a break”. Now my family knows that I am a better wife and mom because I make time for myself!! I still go to the gym 4-5 times a week, go running with friends, bike rides in the evening, have a girls night once a week connecting with other women that know exactly where I’m coming from, going dancing every couple of months, and finding new adventures that fill my bucket!

All of the hats that we wear are important and bring value to our lives and others! I haven’t mastered the balance, but it is something that I work towards every day! After many years of feeling like I was losing who I was, I strive to be the best version of myself so that I can in turn be the best mom and wife I can be! You can’t truly make others happy if you aren’t happy yourself!

The balancing act as moms is simply amazing and in my opinion, overlooked every day! For some, you wake up to your kids crying… it’s a day full of putting everyone else first and taking care of their needs and wants! Cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, playing barbies or soldiers, coming up with fun activities, and trying will all your might to teach them to be good people. For others, you wake up to an alarm and get your kids ready so that you can go to work, come home, and do all of the above after a full day in the office! Finding the balance between family and me time is hard but worth the time to navigate!

A couple pieces of advice to both working moms and stay at home moms is know without a doubt that you are incredible and appreciated! Your efforts may go unnoticed now, but one day when our kids are older they will recognize all you did, and thank you! Secondly, live life to its fullest- I know we have all heard that statement a million times, but have you ever sat down and asked what that statement means to you?? My advice is to figure it out and make it happen! Make time doing what makes you happy even if it can only happen once a month and don’t feel guilty about it.”

**Kami announced that she was pregnant with baby #4!!!!**