strong, but exhausted

It has (unfortunately) been a few months since I sat down to write. It was completely unintentional.

I’ve honestly just been too tired to devote my time to my small corner of the internet. It sounds like a very lame excuse, but my body and mind have been too tired to do much of anything outside of my day-to-day responsibilities.

My endometriosis has flared back up even though I had surgery a little over a year ago. It has been back with a vengeance and my symptoms continue to affect my day-to-day life. I feel out of touch with my body, I get nauseous to the point of vomiting at least once a week, and I am exceptionally tired more often than not. I feel like I am constantly cancelling plans and trying to explain to friends what’s going on. I always feel like I’m bringing everyone down when I do push myself to follow through with plans even though I am feeling bad.

Late last year I realized how terrified I was of not being able to live my life and goals to the fullest because of my health. I needed to pursue other options and I started seeking doctors out-of-state. This can be especially scary because we all know surgery in general can be expensive much less possibly going to someone outside of your insurance’s network and all the other associated costs with traveling to seek treatment.

After some thorough research, I realized how uneducated and naive I had been when it came to my first surgery and the things my then doctor told me. I soon concluded I would need an excision surgery next. The previous surgery essentially cauterized any small areas my doctor could find. This can cause many issues, but as endometriosis grows back, it grows over that burnt scar tissue, making it even more painful. Excision cuts out the endo and any other tissue under/around it that could be effected by it. Alabama actually has no endometriosis excision specialists. It feels like we are always behind.

So my next best option was a well-reviewed surgeon in Chattanooga, Tennessee! His next available appointment was a whopping five months away. While I wanted to just give up because that wait seemed unbearable, I planned a much needed birthday celebration trip around the appointment and it ended being such a wonderful time. Chattanooga is modern and progressive, but not quite as crowded as somewhere like Atlanta or Nashville. I can’t wait to be back for a multitude of reasons!

The number one reason is my scheduled surgery for May. Because this is a more intrusive procedure, I feel like I should be more nervous or fearful. But I have so much hope for a better quality of living that I can’t be anything but excited.

While I was there, I was able to visit Beast + Barrel (pictured above), a rustic-chic gastropub where I had one of the best charcuterie boards ever. I highly recommend a meal (or two there) if you are in the area.

I hope my continued chronic illness journey inspires someone else to keep pushing for a well-lived and enjoyable life. If you don’t have any type of chronic illness and you know someone with one, try to learn more about that person and what their day-to-day life is like. Just because you can’t see their illness, doesn’t make what they are going through any less than.

I will continue to keep you updated on this journey and share some fabulous outfits along the way! Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I prepare for surgery and the recovery.

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the burden is not light

The girl in the pictures above looks happy, light, and care free. But it has taken quite some time to feel comfortable in who she is, flaws and all.

Talking about mental health and working through those issues is hard. But discussing it in the south, seems even harder.

Almost two years ago I realized my anxiety was something I couldn’t control on my own anymore. No matter how much I tried to remove stressors from my life, practice self-care, or pray about it, I just couldn’t do it on my own.

I was worrying over minute details. I was always exhausted, but couldn’t seem to find any rest in my body or my mind. Concentrating on tasks at work was hard. I became irritable over the strangest things and would allow these moods to ruin my day because they were controlling my life.

I finally decided to do something about this and sought medical help for a prescription. While it took some trial and error with different medications and took my body some time to adjust, it improved my day-to-day life tremendously. I could finally function again.

But oddly enough, I felt embarrassed I needed help. I felt ashamed every morning I pulled my little green pills out to take one. I grew up learning people who sought assistance with something like anxiety or depression basically just needed to toughen up and pray about it.

Many will say, “Oh God is just testing you, He never gives more than you can handle!” or “Your mental illness is a punishment for sinning.” I prayed and pleaded with God for so long. I felt as if something were wrong with me or I was doing something wrong and that is why I couldn’t shake the feeling of anxiety constantly overwhelming me. So why wasn’t God “fixing” me?

The prevailing culture of silence along with misguided attitudes and erroneous expectations often cause suffering believers to feel shamed, blamed and very unsupported. *raises hand*

It look me quite some time. But I finally became PROUD of myself for taking the initiative to do something. Through this journey, I have even found a therapist I love (who I should definitely visit more often.) I know some people laugh that I pay money to express my thoughts and concerns with a “stranger” every few weeks. But whew it is money well spent!

I encounter this stigma around mental health often living in the south. The idea that the disruptions in our brains can be simply solved with prayer. I have to pause and say that my faith is very strong and real and I believe in the healing powers of Jesus. But He also created modern medicine and the will and sense to utilize these resources. We get confused when we think we can’t take a prescription because it would mean we don’t trust God enough.

So friends if you are going through it or have been there before, please know you are not alone. I am so proud to see how progressive the mental health movement has become and the openness a lot of my friends and I have about needing a little extra “help.” Let’s continue that momentum and encourage others to take care of their mental health in whatever capacity they need.

Wild One

I had lunch with a girlfriend today and barely let her talk because I was venting. At the end of my lunch “therapy” session, she said, “you sound tired and burnt out.” Whew, was she right.

I know I have talked about being exhausted, stressed, and anxiety ridden in previous blog posts. But I feel like someone (and myself) needs to talk about it again.

I’ve discovered a great source of stress, exhaustion, and even depression is when I say yes to too many things. I take on too many good things, which causes me to miss my best things. It’s so hard to say no and let go of opportunities that come my way. But if I don’t learn the gift of release, I’ll wrestle with a lack of peace. I think sometimes I’m resistant to release because I fear disappointing someone.

Release brings with it the gift of peace. There are some opportunities I need to decline today. There are some things I need to say no to in this current season. There are good things I need to let go of so I can make room for the best things. When we release in peace, we signal we’re now ready to receive.

There have been many nights where I feel I can’t take much more. When I say, “God help me. It’s all too much. I’m tired and frustrated and so very worn out.” But I remember Psalm 142:3, “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.”

I don’t know what you have to release right now. But I suspect you know.  In the violent struggle of trying to balance it all, we will miss every bit of joy each season promises to bring.

So let’s release. With release comes more peace. I see that now. I believe that now. And soon, I pray you will too.

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baby got goals

Did you make a resolution at the beginning of the year? Did you “fail” a week in or not even try at all?

Just because we only have four months left in 2019, doesn’t mean it’s too late to get started. Instead of waiting until next January to crush your goals, why not start now?

Improve Health and Wellness

Health and wellness go beyond your physical body. It also includes your mind and soul, so be sure to think beyond your waistline as well. Do you need to start practicing more self-care? Have you been struggling with depression or anxiety? Don’t wait until next year to take care of yourself! I started doing yoga earlier this year and dropped all of my other gym memberships because not only is it good for my body, it is also good for my mind. It also is more feasible for my body to do multiple times a week since endometriosis makes a high-impact workout painful!

Save Money or Get Out of Debt

This is something I started doing mid-yearish. I knew I wanted to save more and spend LESS! I looked at my bank statements to see where I was spending all my money! You may not think much about a $3 burger here or a $4 coffee there, but these little things add up quick. I started doing the Dave Ramsey envelope system and now I see what all the hype is about!!

Get a New Job

If you loathe your current job or have been wanting to make a change for years, start doing things to get a new job today! Don’t wait around several months and continue to be miserable when you could be doing something about it!  Freshen up your resume. Update your LinkedIn. Make a list of the companies that you would love to work for and reach out to them or sign up to get job opening alerts.

Making SMART Goals

Whew, I hear about SMART goals all the time in my professional life! But they are the key to accomplishing any of these goals. SMART goals are goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

Keep track of your progress month-by-month and take pride in each and every step you take. As you achieve your mini goals, reward yourself well. Do you have goals you’ve made progress on lately? Or are you setting new ones before the year is over? Let me know in the comments!

This is the only life you’ve got—let’s finish this year well no matter how it started! 

Hot Girl Summer

Does everyone feel it’s too soon to browse pre-fall outfits or is it just me?! Walked in one of my favorite boutiques over the weekend and it was FULL of fall sweaters and I thought whew, I can’t even think about buying these right now! Even the lightweight ones aren’t wearable until Octoberish here in Alabama!

Since this hot and heavy weather seems to be sticking around a bit longer, I thought I would talk about some of my favorite makeup products that stay put for 12+ hours during a full day of activities!

#1 Elf Poreless Putty Primer | First of all, ELF has come a long way since it’s original days as a cheap, low quality makeup brand! I have many things I love from this brand, but this one is my latest fave. Feels light on the skin and creates a great smooth canvas!

#2 Makeup Revolution Full Coverage Foundation | Oil-free yet creamy and comfortable formula that dries down to a long-lasting, demi-matte finish. Totally full coverage and doesn’t settle into fine lines!

#3 NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator | Even in this extremely hot summer, this stuff gives a luminous and healthy goddess glow. I promise it won’t make you look a sweaty mess. Also looks great under makeup or alone!

#4 Smashbox Spotlight Palette | An easy-to-use, 3-well highlighter palette that spotlights your favorite features, adds dimension and gives you a buildable glow. This palette is my FAVE for traveling because it has 3 different levels of highlight perfect for daytime and going out wear.

#5 Laura Mercier Undereye Brightening Powder | A transparent, weightless powder to set under-eye concealer, brighten dark circles, and diminish the look of fine lines. Need I say more?

#6 Essence Lash Princess Mascara | My lashes look like falsies when I wear this and it is typically less than $5!

#7 NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray | I purchase this stuff over and over again! Every time I stray from it, I come right back. It will lock your makeup in place for hours. Even in this terrible heat!

#8 MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick | I love a good lipstick. One that stays all day, has high color pigmentation, and is under $10 seems like it would be too good to be true. But this one is it! This stuff does NOT budge. Like at all or all day. You can purchase online for swing by your local Walgreens to find it in stores.

#9 Countercontrol Matte Effect Gel Cream | This stuff provides all the hydration and no shine. Plus it’s a safer beauty product and doesn’t contain anything that you don’t need to put on your skin and in your bloodstream. I am trying to transition to cleaner living. It’s hard, but this brand makes it a little easier!

I hope these product recommendations work for you. Give them a try and let me know if you’re going to make them a part of your daily rotation to beat that dreaded makeup melting off in the heat look!

High High Hopes

If you didn’t know already, I love a solid black outfit. One that can be worn to work, dinner with the girls, or just on a casual shopping day. I typically don’t think I look great in a peplum style top, but this one from Rent the Runway, is super comfortable and flattering. Seriously – the fabric is stretchy but sucks you ALL in! It is great for every day wear and can be easily dressed up.

This week I ventured out to the this civil rights mural depicting Bloody Sunday and the civil rights marches in Selma beginning at the corner of Lee and Montgomery Streets. (Mural painted by Sunny Paulk.)

Sometimes in my day-to-day life in Montgomery, I forget how rich the history is running through these streets. I will run out to grab lunch and see tourists walking around downtown and I am instantly reminded of the stories and places that gave rise to a movement and created change.

Standing in front of this mural, I couldn’t help but think how great change can come from peace and hope and that the world still needs a lot of people bringing about peace and equality for all. I am inspired by the stories of those who came before me and the courage and sacrifices of each of them.

This theme of hope is rampant in our lives daily. We constantly speak in what I call “hope language”:

  • I hope I am healed.
  • I hope she isn’t mad at me.
  • I hope my prayers are answered.
  • I hope I can pay my bills this month.

The issue isn’t whether you hope, but what holds your hope. Remember these things as your attach your security, your sense of peace and rest to something every day.

  • Your hope is in something – What are you placing your hope in right now?
  • Hope is a lifestyle – You always live your hope in some way, it isn’t just something you do with your mind.
  • Most of our hopes disappoint us – When our hopes disappoint us, it is a sign we’ve put our hopes in the wrong thing.
  • There are only two places to look for hope –You rest your hope in the hands of the Creator or look to the world for hope.
  • Hope in God is sure hope – Hope placed in God is well placed and will never disappoint.

I hope this blog post inspires you as enter into a new week. Let me know you keep your hope well placed by commenting below!

Prevail

prevail [ pri-veyl ] – prove more powerful than opposing forces; be victorious.

This week I am talking about another one of my favorite spots –– Prevail Union –– Located on the first floor of a building from 1898, which was home to the S. H. Kress & Co. department store, Prevail is a craft coffee shop focusing on delivering fresh roasted coffee and unique drinks while in a comfortable, cozy environment.  Hip and industrial, it resembles a coffee shop that one typically wouldn’t expect to find in downtown Montgomery.

I’ve been going to Prevail since my first day of work in Montgomery. Back then, it was located in a smaller spot at a nearby building. I fell in love with the honey vanilla iced latte and the homey environment where I could cross things off my to-do list.

Prevail sends a subtle, yet consistent message which constantly reminds us that alone, we may endure, but together we prevail.

No no matter what your situation in this season, if life is hard, love harder, be slow to anger and quick to forgive, and you will prevail. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow, but you will win! 

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