My Dog Cash

Back in April, as I finally became debt-free, I decided to get a dog to celebrate. Growing up, we always had some kind of pet whether it be a cat, dog, bird for the day, or a dying bunny. I wanted an older dog because the puppy phase did not sound appealing. Every day I would look at the ASPCA  for adoptable dogs; I was mainly looking for either a beagle or basset hound and maybe a Corgi if he or she was available. After about a week, I happened upon Cash. It was love at first sight! He was half beagle and half basset hound, a senior dog, and he loved to cuddle; it was almost like this dog was placed there for me.  Now, I hadn’t said anything to my boyfriend, Nate,  because I hadn’t found the perfect dog but that all changed the minute I saw Cash. This is his bio and the picture I first saw. Isn’t he darling? How could you not love him?

 

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In the picture, you can see he has flipped his food bowl; he does that when he’s upset or not getting enough attention

 

The very next day, I want to go see him. With so many dogs barking, poor Cash didn’t know what to think, as he cowered in the corner. His food was scattered all over his pen and he was shaking. Our eyes met and the rest is history. He was just as happy to see me as I was to see him. I finally told Nate about it and showed him Cash’s pictures;Nate was sold and ready to adopt him that very night. We brought him home the next day and haven’t regretted it once. It’s safe to say we are obsessed with him! This was the first night he came home with us. He was exhausted and pooped! Little did we know what we had gotten ourselves into.

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I wasn’t a huge fan of his name, but since he’s nine you can’t really change it. The more I got to know Cash the more I realized he didn’t come to his name, that is unless food is in the picture; so, we decided to call him Cashew.  He loves to snuggle and nap with you and is very treat motivated (so am I if we’re being honest!). He adores walks and taking up 90 percent of the bed. He is perfect for me or so I thought until he decides to abandon me in favor of my boyfriend. I don’t know what Nate does to him but Cashew is obsessed with Nate. I even have proof:

 

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Exhibit A 

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Exhibit B:

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Exhibit C: Cash wants to be touching Nate at all times

 

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Exhibit D: They do this every night!

 

They are the cutest together and I can’t be mad. Cash is so much happier and adores being the only dog. I am so glad we decided to expand our family by one. He brings us a lot of joy with his silly positions he sleeps in or how he runs. Nate loves him just as much as I do and Cash is there to bask in our love. I couldn’t ask for a better dog. We are so thankful to have him in our lives.  So, if you are thinking about getting a dog, do it!  I think I get more out of it than Cash does.

 

2018 The Year of Gray

I have been seeing gray everywhere and, to be honest, I feel like it’s my new favorite color. Gray hair is all over Pinterest and, as we go into fall, I thought it would be the perfect time to go gray myself.  I have been dyeing (see what I did there) to go gray from a number of years. About four years ago, I decided to go gray without first checking with my job; as you might guess, they weren’t too thrilled! They told me I had to get it fixed by the next day or I would no longer have a job! I was heartbroken and instead of getting a new serving job I chose to put brown box dye over my beautiful, silver hair. Needless to say, I no longer work at that job and my current job has no restrictions on hair color. I set my appointment up and the following week I was in the salon chair. Three hours later, I was finished and looked amazing. I don’t know what is about new hair, but I fell like a new person. I am so glad I decided to go for it. IMG-0871

I cannot say enough good things about Skyler! She was super professional, listened to what I wanted, and talked me through every step. In less than four hours, I was done. She made me feel so fabulous. If anyone wants their hair done, she is your girl! Go check out her Instagram for my transformation.  @skylerjade

What are your thoughts on gray?

The life of a chronic overachiever

If I’m being honest, I’ve been a chronic overachiever my whole life. I want to maximize my productivity throughout the day, so I find myself easily annoyed with myself if I’m not getting my checklist done for the day. It’s kind of silly because I put more things on my checklist than I could possibly do in a twenty-four hour period. To make it even crazier I have a master monthly list which I try to fit in between my daily, and weekly lists. I end up so stressed out because I spend more time stressing about not being able to get things done that by the end of the time I’ve accomplished not even half of what I wanted to.

Let me rewind to the start of the year, eight months ago, when I picked up a second job because I can make extra money and still balance everything it’ll be great! That was the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself and I guess I didn’t learn my lesson because when asked if I could work thirty-five hours instead of fifteen in addition to my full-time job, I agreed. Sleep is for the week you know? I realized my mistake on day three; cursing myself as I dragged myself up at 5 AM after having gotten home from work at 2:30 Am. I felt like crying all the time and my tolerance was at an all-time low. I was furious at myself so I took it out on others. If anyone knows me, they know I love my sleep and need at least 10 hours to fully function, needless to say, I was struggling. The kicker is I didn’t even need the money, I was doing it to feel productive. When I did have a rare night off I was so tired, I’d fall asleep the minute I got home.

I wasn’t enjoying life and I was extremely miserable, but I refused to quit. I would rather live my half zombie life than fail. As we all know, I was super busy but not at all productive. It seems like common sense but I missed it big time! I wish I could go back in time and take a different path but the past will stay in the past. I have learned my lesson, these past few months, and will choose a different way in the future. I was literally benefiting no one. Yesterday, I finally finished my second job and I am so thankful. I went through hell and came back exhausted but alive. In the future, I am committed to choosing to have a healthy work-life balance. I will be choosing to only work a certain amount of hours and spending more time enjoying life. I got so caught up about being productive I missed out on a lot. Part of loving yourself, it allowing yourself to rest and relax. I know that when I’m burnt out, doing tasks seem eighty times harder than when I am refreshed and at my best.

What are ways that you achieve a healthy work-life balance?

 

Truth

Let me tell you a story I hope you cannot relate to! Let me tell you a story of loss and hurt and never being the same; a story of hope, healing and of truth. At seven years old, in her sparkly mermaid swimsuit, she had not a care in the world. Opening the door into the warm, summer afternoon, she pranced down to the pool. The water felt amazing and wonderful but even better was playing with her sister’s Shamu floaty, which she wasn’t supposed to be playing with! It was all great fun and her brother’s friend was also staying for the summer. Yay! more friends to play with.

Unbeknownst to her, life was about to change. You see, at seven, she could have never known that there are enemies that parade as friends, wolves in sheep’s clothing if you will. Happily watching the sun dance on her swimsuit, she was a mermaid on her trusty whale traveling the world. Lying on her floaty, the sun was suddenly blocked, thinking it might rain she got up only to realize it was her brother’s friend. Why was he so close? why was he looking at her like that? She couldn’t understand! Quicker than she could run away, he grabbed her vagina and asked her to name it. She didn’t recognize his eyes and they looked scary. She said nothing and hoped he would stop, but he didn’t. “I know what my vagina is called but I’m not telling him,” she thought. It seemed like forever before he let go and told her he was just “joking around”. It didn’t feel like joking around to her and somehow the day didn’t seem so nice anymore.

I never said a word about what happened until several years later. I was talking to a close friend and the story slipped out. Her reply: “me too!” My heart shattered into a million pieces and tears slid down my face. I was angry on behalf of her and for seven-year-old Kellie who was too little to push him away.  I wanted to kill the person who had so deeply hurt my friend. It was a first for both of us that day; neither of us had spoken of what had happened to us so many years ago. I couldn’t understand why she stayed silent, she needed to go to the police, they would listen and believe her! As I was telling her she needed to tell someone, she looked at me and said “for the same reason you haven’t said anything” It was as if the world stopped and for the first time I questioned why I hadn’t said anything? I didn’t have an answer for her that day but left with many questions spinning in my mind.

That night, sleep was nowhere to be found. Why had I never spoken up? Why did I never call him out? Why was he allowed to get away with this but I had to live with the consequences?  Would anyone believe me? Why didn’t I say anything if it really was a big deal? Did I make this up? I felt like my brain was about to explode. It took me a week to tell my family and they were shocked. I don’t think they thought it was possible for a seven-year-old homeschooled kid to be sexually assaulted in their home. They were very upset and were furious about what I’d gone through. They asked me if I wanted to talk to his family but I told them I would when I was ready to do so.

That was three years ago, and since then I thought about messaging him so many time. I friended him on Facebook a few months back, and since have numerous drafts waiting to be sent to him. For some reason, I could not find the words. I thought it would be easy to message him and tell him what a crappy person he is. I wanted to write and tell him that he was not getting away with this! I wanted to scream at him and tell him I remember, but my hands refused to write and words would not come. It was as if my mind went blank and my body froze. I can still see his cruel eyes daring me to say something, taunting me!

In sharing my story, I have heard the same thing over and over again: that happened to me as well! It makes me so angry that these things are happening daily and girls are staying silent. It was not until I tried and failed to write to him, that I finally understood why people stay silent. There are many reasons and so many different circumstances that keep us silent, but I am hopeful that as more people are sharing their stories, it opens doors for others to do the same. For when I am vulnerable, it allows others to do the same.

To: XXXX

“I’ve debated on writing you and telling you what I remember for many years, but today is the day: I am not sure how many other girls you sexually assaulted but that cycle stops now. When you grabbed my vagina, in the pool, and asked me to name it, I refused. In fact, at seven I knew what you did was very wrong and at thirteen you knew as well. My parents were just trying to help when they let you stay in our house the summer of 2003, they let you in and you took advantage of not only their kindness but of seven-year-old Kellie. Well, I remember and will not stop until I get justice. My family is aware of what happened as well as many others in my life. You are responsible for your actions at thirteen years old; those actions have consequences and those same actions are catching up with you” 

I was finally able to write and hold him accountable. It was one of the scariest things I have done and took me months to write, but it feels so good to finally be able to get that off my chest. As I have said, at the beginning of this blog post, I hope you cannot relate to this but the reality is we all have or know someone who has experienced sexual abuse. It is never okay! I know others have had to deal with sexual abuse that is 1000 times worse than what I experienced. I cannot tell you what that’s like but I do know from what I experienced that it takes courage to speak up and stand up for justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountaintop Versus Valley

 

I have not always been on the mountaintop, more often than not the valley is where I spend much of my time. I get really upset when I feel I should already have moved on from the valley, almost a one step forward two back kind of thing. I have such high expectations for myself that sometimes I forget I am human and will make mistakes. In my imperfection, I will stumble and fall. Being human allows me to connect with others and be relatable. My biggest “flaw” I will turn into my biggest strength. In the same breath, I have a hard time connecting with those who pretend their life is totally together. Everyone can see it a million miles away. If they can’t be honest with themselves, then they won’t be honest with me.

Having tried to take the task of being perfect on, has left me exhausted! Behind my mask of perfection, I forgot what it means to be real. I could only see the world from the perspective of perfection. Nice and pleasing at first, Perfection morphs into a cruel master, long hours and no pay, with weekly bonuses of pain and misery. In our ignorance, we blindly accept the terms given without bothering to read the fine print. Having lived this way for all of my life I was not aware there was another way. The truth had been right before my eyes but I was blind to it.

I am here to tell you there is a better way, one that offers rest and peace. Escape the Valley of Perfection and the town of Superiority to Mt. Authenticity via Excellence Way. The Valley of Perfection is a place that leads only to the dead-end town of Superiority. Superiority has the biggest, most hypnotic light show and entertainment I have ever seen but before you know it you’ve been there for ten years. Perfection steals your most valuable resource: time and unapologetically does so. It is crowded in Superiority but the view is so much better on Mt. Authenticity. Join me where the air is clear and refreshing. I know the Valley of Perfection has taken you time, money and energy leaving you empty desperate for happiness. Leave the Valley of Perfect and don’t even put your two weeks in, they have already had enough of your time!

It may be scary to leave the Valley of Perfection after all this had been your hometown for many years but no more. Those people are not your family, only toxic actors hellbent on seeing you become like them. Their smooth talk will only get them so far and the truth will cut through their lie like soap on grease. They have given up on their truth and are furious you have not. The pursuit of perfection leads to the depths of Shame but the path of excellence leads to Mt. Authenticity. Excellence Way is hard and often times empty when you do see people they are slumbering unaware that they are wilting. Blaze Excellence path and own it, your highest-self requires it.

Mt. Authenticity doesn’t seem as impossible from the top only from the perspective of the valley. Unless you change your perspective, you will never take action; and unless you go through the valley you will stay complacent, content to wither away. Pain or the threat of pain acts as a catalyst requires fight or flight action. At some point, we will have to make the choice to kill or be killed. Your inaction will so be your downfall. Life will continue to send us through the valley until we are strong enough to travel through! I don’t know about you, but I have not been guaranteed another day or even another hour in this life. I refuse to waste another minute in the Valley of Perfection. Free entry, rest, and fabulous entertainment are advertised but what they don’t tell you is you must give your time. What an expensive trade-off for a cheap thrill and prize.

Radical Love set the intention of love as truth and spoke it over you long before you ever believed it. She cared for you and walked beside you on the darkest of nights. She saw you partying your life away in the Valley of Perfection and spoke of a freedom. She leads the way, calls you to be more, and pushes you to be amazing beyond your wildest dreams. She empowers you and with full confidence sends you on your way. She is not vindictive nor does she withhold her guidance. She does not have an unrealistic set of rule and cruel punishments. She is forgiving and all-inclusive. She, however, is intolerant of ignorance and hate seeing that injustice is taken care of.

She has changed my life! I am able to blaze my trail with passion and confidence. She replaced shame and apathy with grateful boldness. I refuse to apologize for my truth and boldly speak with confidence. Part of my journey out and up Mt. Authenticity was not living in fear anymore. I was scared of not writing perfectly (if that’s a thing). I lived in fear of telling others and being made fun of. I didn’t think I could write or even had enough to say. I just couldn’t believe my opinions and beliefs were enough to warrant a book. Yet as I have followed Excellence Way, I find myself following my true passion: people and helping women and girls. I put it off “knowing” that it just couldn’t be my calling, but no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, the noisier the call became until it was defining. I couldn’t eat or sleep almost like a gravitational pull. Happiness seemed just out of my grasp, that is until I said yes to my call. You see, unless I speak my authentic truth I do everyone a disservice. Living small is a waste of my potential and honestly a slap in the face. I choose to say to Radical Love and own my truth.

How about you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Radical Love?

 

A guide to change your life through loving yourself first, people second and the planet and animals third. Radical Love seeks to change the way you view yourself and breaks the chains of low self-worth, negative self-talk, and destructive habits while rebuilding happiness, joy, and peace within. Radical Love encourages high standards in all areas of life and deep passions for what truly makes your heart sing. By creating a like-minded community, we offer support for a life lived on one’s own terms and space for new trails to be blazed. We believe life is to be lived well and with such a zeal for Eudaimonia that none should stand in the way! We ask that you come just as you are. We are not impressed by the car you drive, the house you reside in or the clothes you wear. We, however, choose to place value on a virtuous life, others and the environment with the items we buy or don’t buy, foods we eat, and things we do. We choose to live an intentional life only engaging in behaviors and activities that align with our highest self.