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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: 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!

Yoga Retreat 2020: Logan, UT

Yoga Retreat 2020: Logan, UT

It is the nature of women to look at our hearts, minds, and physical appearance and only see the flaws. We examine the pieces of us that we consider to be imperfect or broken and focus on them so much that we ultimately view ourselves as less valuable. At the Yoga Retreat we learned that although we all have weaknesses and have faced hardships in our lives we are indeed, not broken. It is natural that we feel pain, worry, heartache, fear, insecurity, and all the negative emotions that pass through our hearts and minds. They are a part of life and feeling them is not indicative of being broken.

The Wind Caves

We had a total of 16 women on the retreat and stayed in a beautiful brick laden AirBnB in North Logan. We kicked off the retreat with a 4 mile hike to The Wind Caves. The sun was shining, the women were brave, and the views were spectacular! After settling in at the house we enjoyed a delicious and healthy dinner prepared by Chef Lindsey followed by a workshop taught by Niki Olsen, a licensed therapist. We learned tools used in Mind and Body Bridging, a therapeutic approach that helps women understand that their pain and emotions have a powerful effect on their physicality. She taught us that we can, with practice, lessen that effect. Doing so can leave us feeling more powerful and in control of our emotions and negative thoughts leaving our bodies and minds relaxed and available to connect with those around us and feel joy in our lives. We finished the night off with an outdoor yoga session with Jasmine and cleared our minds with peaceful meditation as we watched the sun set over the beautiful Cache Valley.

On day two we prepared our minds and bodies for the day with early morning yoga under the clear blue sky. In this session we learned about the meaning of chakras and offered gratitude to our powerful bodies and the gift they truly are. We followed it up with a 3.5 mile hike up Richards Hollow where we stopped and had lunch at the bottom of a waterfall, giving us the opportunity to chat and connect with one another. Upon returning we were treated with a follow-up workshop with Niki, furthering our skills in bridging the gap between our bodies and minds. After another delicious meal from the chef we enjoyed a sunset yoga session and finished off the night with chatting, connecting and a lot of laughter!

Get Out There Girl retreats are intended to empower women. The Yoga Retreat did just that!  Women from all walks of life made lifelong friendships through adventure, pushing ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally. We spent time together crying, laughing, and most of all learning that we are not broken after all and that none of our so-called “flaws” have anything to do with our value as women. We also learned that we have an indelible power to manage our negative thoughts and utilize them as fuel to bring improvement, peace and joy to all aspects of our lives.