A Trip – In Photos || Sedona, Arizona

Our trip to Sedona was brief, but so worth it. We randomly left at 10am, got there 3 hours later and ended up playing in freezing cold water until 5pm, and turned around to leave again.

One day, I hope to live in a beautiful green place where water runs freely. I find that the older I get, the more I want to be on the west coast, or lost somewhere in pine trees.

It was a beautiful day, one of which I wish I would have been in at least one of the photos, but….I was there!

Note to self; have someone take your photo with your family on a family trip. Or, get a selfie stick.

Sincerely, Shakes’💖

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July: 31 Days of Self Love

I am having a very hard time believing that this is the first day of July! ISNT THAT CRAZY!

It feels like it was just January. Where has the time gone?!

Through my journey of health and fitness, it has dawned on me a lot lately that I want to continue working on self love language and understanding the relationship with myself.

It is, after all – just that.

A relationship with myself has been something extremely new. I spent way too long ignoring the girl in the mirror looking back at me.

I came across something on Pinterest that really sparked my interest in this journey of self love language and talk. So, I thought I would use my blog as a platform to talk about those inner thoughts, and feelings.

Starting today: Day 1 – What is Your Biggest Struggle I’m Loving Yourself?

Right off the bat, I would immediately say something rather unexpected…but the one thing that challenges me to love myself would be…my irregular emotions. My hormones. My up and downs..and struggling with PMSD. Of course I can tell you that all of my physical issues contribute to the lack of love. But, it starts there for me.

It is one of the biggest challenges of accepting myself and loving myself because it has become one of the hardest things to control.

If you struggle with anxiety, depression or PMSD, you most likely understand exactly what I mean! It can be debilitating.

There are so many times in my life where having these issues have put me locked in a bedroom crying onto a pillow. Feeling absolutely helpless.

As the years go by, I am gaining a stronger understanding of these issues, which is making it easier, but I have a feeling that it will always be something I struggle with.

The PHYSICAL things can be changes far easier than the mental ones. That is truly why I believe anyone on a weight loss or health journey should also be on a mental health journey as well! Even more importantly if you’re a parent.

But, even in answering this vulnerable question, I’ll admit – today is a good day. I have been feeling so good and in control of my emotions and anxiety lately. And that is truly a blessing!

What do you struggle with most in self love?

Sincerely, Shakes’❤️

My Monster Moment…..

I’m no exception to the rule of an American lifestyle. I’ve got too much fat, and far too little patience.

Sorry, may be crude, but it’s true.

And, truth be told I thought my initial life experience was unique; sadly enough, the older I get, the more I realize, it’s not. So many of us are walking around with tremendous life baggage, without the knowledge or ability to let go of what is keeping them from having a great life. 

I have parents that married too young, a father who spent my entire childhood acting out in anger, and a mother who was lost in her past, and experienced things that a child just should not have to experience. At least, I know that I am trying with all of my power to keep my children from experiencing the same things.

Breaking the cycle of an abusive childhood is one of the hardest but most important things I have ever done, and will ever do with my life.

But, as I get older, I am finding more strength in knowing that the vast majority of my generation all came from some sort of a similar back ground. Oddly enough, I am wondering if maybe that is why we are in sort of a crisis now…

Think about it.

Children that were grown from neglect and abuse – what is the probability they will have the tools to change their habits? The following generation would simply lash out from receiving the same lack of love and care.


When I first had my daughter – there were many days I felt like an absolute monster.

I was a monster.

Because I didn’t know how to love her, without seeing that I had a gaping hole inside of my soul; I did not love myself.

There were days when I first became a mother that I would cry…..so…..hard. I didn’t know why God would have made me a mother when the examples of parenting I had were so misguiding, to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, I love both of my parents’ – but our happily ever after was jaded from the very beginning.

But, for as long as I am alive, I will never forget the first time I laid my hands on my daughter.

I did not hit her.

She was in the midst of a tantrum, and I was in the midst of the same. It felt as though my heart was going to jump out of my throat, and I had millions of voices screaming inside of my mind, vicariously telling me the opposite of one another.

And, just like that, without thinking; I put my large hand over my sweet little girls face.

In that moment, when all of me broke apart, I just needs silence. I couldn’t breathe. My hand was over her little mouth, quieting her for what felt like a century. And I was crumbling underneath.

Her eyes welled up with tears, and within seconds, I could feel my face burning, my hands shaking, and a simple thought crossed my mind. What if I didn’t let go? 

That.

That was my moment. My monster moment.

I did not bruise her, I did not put a single scratch on her face. But in that moment of motherhood; I finally saw, all of the abusive cycles of my life had literally ejected itself through my veins and into my hands, onto her mouth. 

I felt rotten from the inside out, and how dare I make her feel unsafe or fearful of me. I was no longer any better than the man that taught me what abuse was. I was no better than all of the moments he made me terrified of him, scared that I was going to get hit, whipped, or thrown across the room. In that moment; I was no better.

BUT breaking the cycle of an abusive childhood is one of the hardest but most important things I have ever done, and will ever do with my life –

That was the last day I have ever laid my hands on her. She was two.

I remember that day so well, I can even tell you where we were and what time of day it was.

The entire point of this, is to say that not only did I have a moment of realizing that I was suffering from post partum depression at the time, but that mask of diagnosis was merely my soul signaling to my brain that I had not quite worked out what I needed to in my life. I was also 270 pounds. I was falling apart.

It’s been five years since that day.

Five years of pulling myself through the sludge, and five years of forgiving myself. I can tell you that I am still working through the darkness; not every day, but sometimes. And, I can also tell you that if you’re like me – and you struggle with stopping the cycle of abuse, your children can save your life, if you let them.

I am nowhere near to being a perfect mother, as a matter of fact, trying to be perfect is what has led me even deeper into depression. All we can do is love first. In any situation, and at all cost………

Always love first.

Where would we be if we spoke from love, instead of fear? Reacted with love instead of anger? Embraced compassion instead of hate? Would it make a difference?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Sincerely, Shakes’

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We are thinking about moving…..again.

Something that has recently popped up in our lives is that we want to move AGAIN, out of our current hometown of Arizona.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I love Arizona. But Arizona has changed A LOT. And so has its people, and with the school districts and neighborhoods vastly changing, in beginning to feel like our welcome here is no longer available.

So, we have toyed with the idea of moving to my absolutely beloved location on this entire earth; the WEST COAST.

When I was a little girl (actually most of my life) I have always had this dream or premonition of myself sitting next to a window, at a small table with a lamp on it – as an older woman, writing. And it’s been a vivid dream or idea that I have chased – that feeling. Isn’t that crazy?!

None the less, I am terrified. Do you know many times we have moved in our adult life? Too many to freaking count.

And honestly – I am still unsure if it’s something I want. But, maybe I am just comfortable. Maybe my soul is telling me that moving somewhere new, is going to bring a whole new world of elements that I need in my life right now.

I have been feeling stuck; in my job, in creativity and my artistic side is basically drowning.

I don’t even photograph anymore. And that used to be something I was madly in love with after my kids were born.

Makes me feel lost, and a little pathetic.

So, we are thinking about taking a job offer (possibly) on Portland Oregon.

I know nothing about this city. Except for the fact that there are many homeless people, and it’s expensive, and it rains and ungodly amount. – sorry, just being honest here!

But, it would be a total change of pace for us. And, we would live south of Portland. In a suburb area, and hopefully a good school district!

My hope is to be able to get the kiddos into a nice school and find a creative job/outlet of my own! I miss working in the art industry! When I worked in Baton Rouge at the print shop, I was literally so happy, but I have grown so much since then and I know I would have this immense light and strength to bring to the industry.

So, the question lies now, how do I channel the real question; the question of if we are ready to leave again?

Will our children fall apart?

Will they be okay?

How do we tell them we are wanting to leave again and go on a new adventure?

My heart feels confused, and a bit heavy. Only time will tell what is right, and I have to believe that what is meant to be, will be.

Sincerely,

Shakes’ ❤️

What About My Story to Freedom?

I have been trying, and wanting to write something important on my blog for the last few days..but fall short every time.

I guess that is something I have never truly had the ability to do; organize my thoughts. I blame it on my current job, life as a full time mother of 2 little ones, and well – I guess that is just my brain in general. Ask anyone close to me.

My favorite thing about writing has always been to surrender yourself to a safe place where you can speak (write) to an invisible audience, and say just about anything. – Many people take that for granted, so..be careful on that say just about anything part.

But, yesterday, when I tried writing – my brain was all wired up, with too many crazy thoughts, and I couldn’t write about something; I wanted to just talk to someone. Ya know? About those deeper thoughts of my past, and childhood whirling inside of my head because of Sunday..

Sunday ended in an emotional place, watching I Can Only Imagine – and if you have not seen the movie yet, I highly suggest you do! It’s a beautiful story. One of which really gave me an insight to how many of us rise from circumstantial lives of abuse and neglect as children. The story pulled up some emotions that I often try to burry of myself; from living an abusive childhood. I don’t think that it’s an uncommon thing to really see or hear this anymore though.

After seeing this movie and going through the motion, I kept thinking to myself – what is your passion? What will be your moment? 

I think that is what movies are made for, right?
My mind instantly went back to the past, and it felt, as if, I had a actually been a surviver of something traumatic, but I have been too scared to write my story.

Maybe writing my story is too cliche; Maybe writing my story is too personal, and I won’t do it justice.

Or, maybe…..writing my story, will be something so hugely important that it can help me finally move on and figure out where my true passion in life lies.

Today, that’s what I am pondering….How do I tell my story of life to freedom? 

Sincerely,
Shakes’

Seeing myself for the first time at 30 years old..

A note to myself:

“There are so many years that have gone by that I have neglected you.

To see you.

For what you’re truly worth.

I’ve let everyone else’s depiction and ideas about you, dictate what you were truly made of.

I listened to them, and let their thoughts into my own. How incredibly foolish of me; how many years of youth that has stolen from me.

Now, as I am embarking on this journey of self love, I realize — I am seeing you for the first time.

I am seeing you naked, unclothed, soul wide open, vulnerable as can be.

I am realizing your beauty, and all of your flaws simultaneously.

See, it’s easy to hide beneath a high mirror, and shadow yourself underneath baggy clothing.

No one looks, but yet, everyone is looking at the same time. Those years of letting the small voices inside of your head control you — set them free.

Because as a woman, on this new journey through 30 – there is no more room for self doubt and pity.

There is no room for self sabotage and hate.

There is no room for lack of love.

It is time to let go of the self hate you have within you and finally see you for you. The good, bad, and in between.

You are not imperfect, you are exactly as perfect as you are meant to be; as you strive to be, as you live to be. And, let there be freedom in that. ”

When I first started this journey I came in with vengeance in my heart, and fire in my soul. I started to hate myself so badly that I wanted to become perfect; the perfect body for starters. But, here I am, realizing more than ever that even though I’ve lost 70lbs, I still feel the same about the girl looking back at me. And that has to change.

We are all flawed. We are all insecure in one way or another, and we have to embrace everything about those insecurities and live life happily!

There is no extreme version of health and fitness that can fix the soul. No fad diet can fix a wounded heart.

And after all – even if you get to the physical goals, I promise – all of that broken material within you, will still be there; unless you fix both peacefully.

💝

Sincerely, Shakes’

Feeling Inadequate: I’ve Forgotten How to Make Friends.

There’s been a wave of realization in my life lately, especially as I take control of my health, fitness and well being.

Have you heard that before too?

When someone becomes overweight, they’re supposedly masking something; for many people that means emotional trauma, insecurities, or…many times, all of the above.

There’s no secret that I have, well, all of the above. – I am actually pretty open about my insecurities, and anxiety now days.

But, lately I have realized a harsh truth about myself –

I have forgotten how to make friends.

Really, it’s moreso that I have allowed years of insecure thoughts overwhelm my mental ability to confidently make choices when meeting someone. I find myself over analyzing every choice I make.

I have realized this happening with work, but really it has most recently trickled into life at the gym. I have zero ability to make friends when I am at the gym. Why? Because it is such an uncomfortable place for me to be in, in the first place.

Even with my trainer, I am awkward as hell. He probably thinks I’m an idiot; when in reality, I just don’t know how to act around people I hardly know. This stems from a childhood of abuse, and being in a place of self defense for a very long time.

So, my new goal is to somehow change that. I want to learn how to be friendly again – be open and honest.

Not second guess every single choice I make, or thing I say.

First step, smiling at strangers; learning that not every single person is going to cause some sort of trauma in my life.

Have you felt this way before? I am sure many of us have felt inadequate when meeting new people; I can see it on others’ faces when they walk across the room.

Learning to love with an open heart, and live with an open mind, may be amongst my greatest challenges; but will be the most rewarding gift in this life. 💛

Sincerely, Shakes’ 🌻

Basically, I’m living off of Green Beans + Lean Meat.

So since starting this “lean out” journey; (I am not calling it weight loss, because I don’t wanna ever find that shit again) I have managed to shed some fat, but really needed a nutritionist to help with tuning in my eating habits and making sure I am getting the right kind of nutrition.

Basically, I am allergic to most all American Food.

❌ No Wheat

❌ No Dairy

❌ Low Caffeine

❌ No Soy

❌ No Fake Sugar Shit

❌ No Dairy – wait, yes I already said that one, but it’s a BIG one. Do you have any idea how much dairy is in stuff???? It’s insane!

Anyway, so after my trainer set me up with a nutritionist, I had zero ideas on what to expect. Would I be restricted horribly? Would I be living off of protein shakes 3 times a day??

I mean, If you’ve ever had a fitness nutritionist (different than a doctor nutritionist in my opinion) then you would know that the rumors on them is that they will push their clients way out of their comfort zones in order to get them to seeing results.

The crazy part??? I am ready to be well out of my comfort zone.

I mean for f^cks sake – I have been “dieting” for years, trying to eat as healthy as possible but because of a slow metabolism; my body doesn’t really like change.

Anyway, this is the end of my first full week on my new plan, and basically – I am doing good.

But, I eat about 3 cups of fresh green beans a day. LOL

How weird right?? But, there’s a reason. I suffer from IBSD as well, so a lot of veggies like Brocolli, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, etc – KILL MY INSIDES.

I have been feeling leaned out and empowered all week long. But, I am on this meal plan for the next two weeks.

Pretty stoked to see if it really changes my body. It’s definitely not making me feel deprived, I have just never eaten so much almond butter, and green beans in my life. Trust me, that’s not all I’m eating though, it just feels like that’s mainly what I’m eating.

At the end of my 4 week journey, I will post a “before and after” photo of my changes. I am pretty excited to see what those will be.

Learning health and healthy eating habits can be challenging for some; and I do think it can be beneficial to eat the same meals, and foods for a chunk at a time. Not to mention it can be significantly cheaper because you’re not spending hundreds of dollars on dozens of extravagant meals.

Simple is usually the best way to go!

Also, if you love green beans, they’re kind of becoming my new favorite. Which is good, because I’ll be eating a lot of them.

Sincerely, Shakes’ 🖤

It’s good to eat healthy – it is NOT good to let your kids eat like sh^t.

I am sure all of you have seen it before; a mom on social media who is trying to eat healthy, lose weight, and get fit. Hell – I am one of them.

But, for whatever reason, I have noticed more and more; mom’s are being selfish in this matter.

Now, I know this post could potentially piss some women off; but let’s be real for a moment…..

If you want to be healthy, lose weight, and live an active lifestyle – why are you still feeding your kids processed junk food on the daily?? 

The supermarket is LOADED with junk for kids; so I get it. It is SO easy and tempting to just feed them, make them happy and move forward with your day. But think about it for a moment; your kids won’t be children forever. They will thrive (or not thrive) as adults one day, by whatever path you lay before them. 

They will learn to eat the way you teach them to eat.

Do you think that they will eat gummy bears, sugary yogurts on tubes, cheese puffs, and loaded macaroni every day as a child and then just wake up one day as an adult and go – “I no longer wish to eat any of this food – I REALLY LOVE BROCOLLI, KALE, AND FISH”

ummmmm…….that’s a big, fat, NO.

I know from experience, trust me. My parents blamed me for being overweight my entire life…..on ME. Which, to this day, they don’t take responsibility for, and I have taken all of it. (To be continued….on how I took back my life from learning bad eating habits).

Nope, sorry parents, but that is actually not my fault, that is your fault. Because teaching a child does not stop at school….teaching a child never stops.

They are learning everything from you. 

What you eat, how you dress, the way you treat other people, other children, other animals, how to deal with stress – got my point?? 

So, if you ever feel like your child eats unhealthy, and you don’t know what to do because you’re eating healthy, and its a ‘challenge’….

Guess what?

Get your big girl panties on, stop playing the victim, and TEACH your children how to eat properly, wholesome, healthy foods. Teach them to not pay attention to fad dieting and that what we consume directly….DIRECTLY effects every single thing that are body does. And if you don’t have the tools, or knowledge, teach yourself – then do them a favor….and provide them with that same knowledge.

It is our solemn right as parents to develop the years ahead of us, by teaching OUR children what is right and wrong, in every single way. The smallest beginning to that, is at the dinner table.

Make it a family affair, and I guarantee you, your stress levels will drop in vast quantities, and everyone’s value of life will rise.

P.S. I am sure you know this, but, eventually…..they will thank you.

P.S.S – None of this means you are a bad mom but it does mean that you should come to the reality that you are the direct influence in your child’s life in every way. It doesn’t make you a bad mom because your kid eats junk now and again, we all do. But, the amount of time and care you put into your own health, should also reflect in theirs. It’s that simple.

Sincerely,
Shakes’

F^ CK – Giving Up On Yourself.

I’ve done it time and time again; started things, just to really honestly feel it in my soul that it would never stick.

My biggest problem?

Trying to please everyone.

Let’s be honest – we all do.

But, after so many times of trying, trying, trying and finally failing over and over; the manipulation of failure sets this tone that you no longer believe you can do the really hard stuff.

So how do we fix this issue??

Trust in the process, ourselves, and God. And let it move through you.

In the last few months, I have been struggling to remember who I am as a woman. A woman before my children, before I married, and before the life I live now, unfolded.

I have always wanted to write; but most of the time my inner fears have their way of wrapping their ideals around my throat that I no longer feel like I have an important enough voice.

So, a couple months back – I pulled myself away from social media, writing, and just focused on me. What I want in this life.

And, I can tell you – that manifesting your truest desires in this life are not easy at all.

For f^cks sake, one day I feel like my entire life is amazing and well planned out; while the next, I am merely confused and feeling like I am starting from day 1 again, with no concept as to what I want.

My biggest idea here is to let go, and let live.

LET GO AND LET LIVE.

God, what a beautiful sentiment. I want to scream it over and over again.

So, I’m back; changing my life, changing my why and learning to understand that inner voice and knowing to trust they everyone has a purpose in this life.

Everyone.

Have you found yours?

“They fail to see your resilience until you are the only one left” 🖤

Sincerely, Shakes’

Photo by: Sincerely, Shakes©️ Blog 2018 Do not copy.