GritFit Abilene has challenged me for three months now to be the best version of myself! Two days ago I did a workout in memory of my brother Shawn and it HURT! As I pushed through the pain tears began to fall from my eyes, thankfully they blended with the sweat dripping from my forehead. Francisco Carlos Garrigas, one of our many encouraging coaches, came over to help me just as I began to feel like I couldn’t go any further to complete my final set. I had 7 thrusters left to finish it, but I felt that I couldn’t make it 🏋🏾♀️! He started counting and encouraging me to keep pushing through the blazing fire in my arms and legs! I also heard several incredible people all around the gym saying, come on Stephanie you have got this! I could have stopped and everything in me wanted to but my end goal was, no matter how many modifications I may need, I will not quit! Somedays life is so hard and quitting would most certainly be the easier option! “Do Not Quit” were the loud words channeling through both hemispheres of my brain! I managed to complete it and I am thankful that I did not try to complete it alone!
Sweet Friends. I cannot help but think of how many are suffering right now due to loss of many sorts. Loss of family, loss of jobs, loss of the normalcy of life as we once knew it. What pain are you managing in your life right now? How are you working the chaos out? Drugs? Alcohol? Food? Power & Control? How? Is the pain that you are trying to manage bad enough to take steps towards REAL CHANGE, HEALING? The kind of change that leaves you refreshed, alive, and thriving not just coping, getting by, and surviving?
My observation from my memorial workout is that that It really makes a difference if we have people around who have our backs and count to seven with us just when we feel like we can’t go any further. It is important to set goals and work towards achieving them. It is equally important to have a support system.
My brothers struggled to reach out and get support. Both tragically died young. Both often struggled with self medication for depression, anxiety, ADHD, parental alienation, feelings of never being enough, and many other tormenting issues. Both of my brother are gone FOREVER😭😢. What a sobering and almost unbearable thought. As their baby sister, they undoubtedly annoyed me, overprotected me, and drove me insane as most brothers do. I drove them crazy too 😁! They also loved big, felt deep, and are my why for many driving forces of advocacy and focus towards being my best and helping others.
Often times music helps me find words to emotions that overwhelm my mind and attempt to steal my peace. There is a song by The Band Perry called “If I Die Young”. These words depict how it feels to lose a loved one so very young. “Who would have thought forever could be severed by, the sharp knife of a short life.” That knife cut through layers of my existence and has formed an eternal scar on my soul.
Well, as painful as it is that they are gone, I am thankful that I get to imagine both of my brothers united in heaven, whole and free. Although it is hard, I MUST accept that they’ve had just enough time on earth. They are no longer suffering and if I choose to suffer here, the painful truth is that it will be my choice! Instead of suffering, I will find ways to press on and LIVE my life.
One thing they have taught me is that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. We only have memories and the present moment to truly be. Be present. Be a blessing. Be a person of kindness. Be a person of charity. Be a hard working human! BE Ourselves! No one can replace my brothers, or me, or you. We were created for such a time as this. The weighted question is, HOW WILL WE CHOOSE TO PUSH THROUGH THE PAIN AND TRULY PROSPER WITH THE UNCERTAIN TIME WE HAVE LEFT?
☠️drugs ☠️excessive alcohol ☠️looking for love in all the wrong places ☠️stealing ☠️overeating ☠️hatred and anger ☠️laying in bed or on the couch depressed ☠️making excuses ☠️fearful ☠️anxious ☠️reckless behavior
❤️prayer and meditation ❤️gratitude ❤️photography ❤️time with my family “quality time” ❤️time with friends ❤️writing ❤️humor, counseling, camping ❤️public speaking and advocacy ❤️music (listening, writing, & performing) ❤️healthy eating with some (chocolate)😂 ❤️Drinking water ❤️intimacy with your person😉 ❤️bike riding ❤️resting ❤️yoga ❤️smiling at strangers ❤️raising money for charity ❤️painfully ugly and still profoundly healing workouts!
I choose the ❤️ not the ☠️!
Self medicating with toxins are not an option for me but this ❤️ list is my go to! What is yours? Please reach out if you need a friend. I don’t claim to know all of the answers. I am not perfect. I am messy sometimes. I am empathetic and may cry but love does that sometimes. I do love to brainstorm and listen! I love this painfully broken yet beautifully whole life I am fortunate enough to live!
We joke together about how crazy we are for this adventurous life we have lived together. We met over a decade ago and jumped into love unashamedly. (Okay maybe there was some shame but that wasn’t from us, it was from everyone thinking I must be pregnant because we met and married so quick 😂🤣). Shame on them, actually maybe it’s, jokes on them 🤣! There are many things that I have learned from being married to and living life with you my love. Here are a few.
❤️Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. I have learned that managing all of these takes work and even when we fail we learn something and press on towards being better humans. (I know, Gushy🤷🏻♀️)
❤️Questions. Some people are afraid to question life and all that it entails. You have given room for it. You have welcomed some of life’s most daring questions. I have even learned to question the integrity of my faith and personally believe it is stronger now than ever. May we always seek!
❤️ I have learned patience. Not because I am patient but because you are and have been painfully patient with me. Let’s throw humility to the mix too because you wear that word like a champion (a humble one of course).
❤️I know I am a pain but you have taught me what unconditional truly looks, feels, sounds, smells and tastes like. It looks like you, feels like you. Sounds like you. Smells like you and tastes like a marshmallow (let’s not get weird with taste…don’t want anyone thinking I lick you 🤣🙈🤷🏻♀️shh).
❤️You taught me how to appreciate storms, stars, guns, bikes, tools, family, instruments, bitter coffee and humor. You have taught me how to laugh at life and I am so grateful for this (often times I am waaayyyy too serious)!
❤️we build. Together we continue to build the layers of our lives as we blend each color together! By the way, if you are blue and I am yellow then together our love color is green. (Read The Gift post for an explanation if this doesn’t make sense. https://simplyencourageblog.com/2021/01/04/the-gift/).
❤️You have supported my crazy dreams and you still do! You have seen me succeed and you have held me through failure. I have found that there is beauty in both.
❤️Together we built a house and made a family and I am thankful that we have four beautiful daughters (all four are very strong, amazing, bright, fun, and hard working). Hopefully we continue to teach them a few things along this journey. I truly pray that we teach them what love looks like above all things… (oh and we need to get them in that class where they teach you how to damage the testicles and eyeballs 🤷🏻♀️🤣should anyone mess with them!)
❤️Thank you for letting me be a mom first even if it cost a few years of fully jumping into our careers! although it was hard, our youngest made it to Kindergarten successfully (well successful is subjective)! She is alive! They all are! We may kill houseplants but the kids made it! Hooray for success! I feel like now is the time to thank you for cheerleading me through breastfeeding…that may have been worse than three and teething and potty training all together! Hooray again!!!
Danny, you are truly the best life partner a woman could ask for. I love you so very much. Thank you for loving me back even though I annoy you, I snore, laugh loud and fight loud, have yet to do a pull-up, think 24-7 about how to help others all the while neglecting myself (changing this as we speak), scare you with crazy ideas, can’t haul a trailer, fall off stationary bikes, have to stop and rest under the cemetery shade tree, don’t understand Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, made you explain the point of The Hobbit 100 times okay 101…what is it again?, steal your chair and your hat and your side of the bed and and and your heart (maybe I didn’t steal that but it makes me feel like a rebel to think I did). I love you and am looking forward to many more Love Days with you. I am so glad you love me more than one day a year! ❤️
Today I am grateful. As I woke up to the conditions of the roadway being icy and school being cancelled I am filled with gratitude. Not because we don’t have school today (I LOVE MY JOB) or because we are iced in but because we have what we need.
This morning as the phone rang to notify us that school was closed I felt a small sting in my chest for some of my students as I prayed for their resilient minds. I remember a time in my life when days like today would cause extreme anxiety and fear for me. I relied heavily on those two meals, the restrooms, the smiling faces of my teachers and friends and the warm, fun classrooms.
There was a time that we lived in an old brown car at one point in my life and the sleep wasn’t that great in that little back seat. Food was scarce and the car heater didn’t work so we did the best we could to stay warm with the blankets that we had.
My biological dad was in prison, my sister had been adopted by a loving family when we were much younger and my older brother was with his biological dad somewhere in Texas. My mom and her boyfriend had struggled with addiction and domestic violence and recently separated for the near 100th time. We found ourselves without a shelter and all of the belongings we could take were stuffed into the trunk. It was so full it wouldn’t close and the hatch was tied down with thick wire. The three of us slept as well as we could while crammed into an old brown 70’s model Ford maverick. The nights in Texas can be cold if you are used to the usual warm climate. Some nights I would look outside the little window and wonder if we were going to eat the next day or where we would use the restroom. My mother cried often. My brother and I also cried. Somehow I always remained hopeful that life would get better.
I am so grateful it wasn’t as cold then as it is now. I hope all of my students are housed and clothed, warm and cared for during this cold winter.
I am also grateful that my own children do not have to sleep in a car or wonder where their next meal is going to come from. I am so grateful that I am not having to figure out how I will keep them warm from the harsh winter winds.
Today as I write this I am going to ask you for a favor. Choose gratitude. If you have a roof over your head, be grateful. If you have food for your children, be grateful, if you have a job, be grateful. If you have a vehicle, be grateful. If you have your health, be grateful. If you are breathing, be grateful because there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for! Looking back, I am grateful for the time that we were blessed with white powdered donuts and milk for breakfast because people in the community gave my mom some spare change and that we had that old brown car to sleep in when the nights were cold because the shell of it protected us from the winter winds.
Maybe today you can look for ways to give back to the community. United Way of Abilene helps families in our communities by helping organizations who help families! I am sure our Salvation Army is full at this time and may need resources, hands and feet.
Whatever you do, I hope complaining is not part of your day today. Pray for our AISD students and families, many are struggling right now! No matter where you are, remember that warmer days are ahead! Have hope! I love you! Love you! -Steph
Exit: One thing I have learned during this season is how important it is to fix your eyes on something, and keep them there, so that you don’t be distracted by all of the noise around you. My mind tends to wonder and is so easily distracted. I also struggle with comparing my weaknesses to someone else’s strengths during vulnerable moments like yesterday.
I have been working out at an incredible gym in town and yesterday was tough for me. Since I am new there the coach was helping me make sure my form was correct and we talked a little here and there about my why. I told him I am changing a few things in my life and my health is one of them. I also said “change is hard but for me, it is time, no excuses”! I want to be a role model for my children and fully present in this lives. I deeply desire the best relationship with my incredibly supportive husband. I want to not only survive the storms of life but I also want to thrive through them and rise in the aftermath, stronger and better than I was before.
My coach asked how old my littlest one is and I said she is five. I placed my hands on my abdomen and with a half smile on my face I said “this isn’t baby weight, it’s grief”! I told him about losing both of my brothers years apart and the most recent loss was tragic and happened during the beginning of this COVID crisis. Thankfully he wasn’t uncomfortable at my disclosure. He was empathetic and honestly that is what I needed in that moment. The moment I shared I felt a little embarrassed that I was disclosing because he isn’t my counselor he is my coach. I believe God placed him there in that moment. His demeanor shifted, he not only felt compassion but understanding as he shared that he too had lost his sister a few years ago. The embarrassment exited and gratitude filled me. I wasn’t grateful for his loss but for his understanding. Sometimes we just need to know that someone understands.
After the warm up we started our workout and I found myself in a vulnerable state. I began to cry and thankfully I was facing away from everyone so they couldn’t see me. For a moment I thought about running through the exit door and leaving because I did not want to look weak but instead, I stayed! As the tears were filling my eyes I kept pushing but begged my grief to leave me alone! I thought about how much I missed my brothers. I got angry that they were gone and I wouldn’t get to share any moments of this life with them again on earth! While I lifted the weighted barbel and kept pushing through the physical and mental anguish I looked at the exit sign that was tempting me and whispered to myself “I am an athlete! I don’t quit”! I didn’t quit! I didn’t give up! I pushed through the pain and tears and fixed my FOCUS and finished.
I fixed my eyes on the red exit sign. I thought about all of the times I took the “emergency exit” to escape, instead of dealing with the big emotions during this terrible season! I turned to comfort food instead of self care. I know there is grace during these seasons but I must recognize where I can grow if I truly desire to grow. The comfort food, every choice to lay in bed and mindlessly search social media or sleep it off, every missed opportunity to go for a walk or workout with a family member or friend and every drink to take the edge off, truly hurt my body. Although I do forgive myself and practice grace, I would be a fool not to recognize the destruction of my choices. One of the hardest battles is that it is socially acceptable to do these things when you fall on hard times but I want to encourage you not to! I am making a commitment now to delay the exit until the right moment.
This exit sign became a symbol for me. Not only did it help me make it through a tough workout but it also helped me see that looking upward in our focus can help heal us. I will stay and fight through the pain and only exit when I have accomplished my goals and even then I will not quit fixing my eyes on all that I need to rid myself of. These things that do not benefit my body, spirit, and mind no longer have a place in my life!
If you are in town please join me at the gym and take the exit only after you have completed the goal for the day. You are not alone! Show up and fight for the life you desire to live.
Stephanie Ellison is an author, wife, mom, advocate, musician, podcaster, singer, and public speaker. She shares a message of hope and healing throughout Texas and the United States and her message has been read and heard internationally. For speaking inquiries please contact mike at Mike@IMPACTtruth.com
Here are my notes from today: let me know if there is anything to add!
Lite up the chat box- Anything that connects with me needs to be put in the box. ENERGY- Energy is a habit! I have had a slip in energy and we need it! We want our feet to hit the ground and shake the world!
EGOSCU: Life Well Lived! What would you do if your world had no limitations?
ADD more value! Life is happening for us not to us!
Everything in the external world started in the internal world.
Patterns overwhelmed or strong and resilient. Emotional home: The place that you go back to. Controls the quality of your life. What do you want and what can get you there. Don’t go back to the home that is going to get you destroyed again!
You cannot think yourself into being positive. You have to train your body and your mind! What are your patterns of emotions?
The quality of your life is the quality of your emotions!!! Master this emotion and your life will transform!
Most of us are not emotionally fit! Fitness is a state of readiness. You can have intelligence and not use it!
Results actions pattern of emotions head and body If you want to change your results then you need to train your actions and if you want to train your actions you need to train your pattern of emotions and if you want to train your emotions then you need to train your head and body! You need a healthy mind and body in order to help your life. You have to help you and then you can help others.
Your head and heart work together to affect your life.
Every invisible force has strengths and weaknesses. Anger rage love and compassion change us!
Not positive thinking. Intelligence! If you don’t get disappointed you will not find your drive! Pray and demand that you get better!!!
Make a psychological change! Energy! Energy is life! When it is low you get exhausted and everything is hard and you don’t do a lot of things that you can do. I want problems to be things that I attack.
Stages of grief. Shock, Anger or frustration, bargaining, sadness, acceptance, Create a NEW!!!!
We must create a new no matter how big the challenge is! Let go of what was! It is not going to be good forever and it is not going to be bad forever!
Let’s make winter our season so that we can get to spring!
What follows the night? A new day! Create our life a new. What parts of me have to grow and expand. We want an incredible quality of life.
ENERGY is the single most important thing! It is the way you lead! Indecisive is not good. You must have certainty You cannot manage what you do not measure! You must measure your level of energy!
We need to be at a peak state! High energy!
1-10. Energy is the most important thing to success. Energy is a habit.
Feel it but don’t stay there.
Energy starts with the way you move, movement and use your voice!
Competition conspire to make others better!
I challenge you, you low energy person!
The power of positive thinking. Whats wrong it always available but so is what is right!
There is a power of problems. Problems are gifts and they must understand the value of problems. The only people without problems are people in cemeteries! If you don’t have a problem you better get on your knees and start praying for one.
I built these muscles by every day pushing against resistance and that gives me strength! Problems build our souls muscles. Jim Roan. For things to get better you have to get better!
If the beginning of the story the main character they are amazing and ⅓ of the way through the story they are great and all the way to the end they are perfect no one will read it!
What you get will not make you happy but what you become will make you happy.
Where focus goes energy flows.
Drowning in information and starving for wisdom! We are an attention society. FEAR sells. If it bleeds it leads in journalism.
Sugar or strychnine in your coffee sweet coffee.
Your biggest problem is you think you shouldn’t have one! JOY comes from growth! Everyone is experiencing stress. KEEP growing. We grow or we die.
If we have nothing to give life is meaningless.
What was horrible but looking back on it you see the grace in it and it has made your life richer. SEE the grace of it! LIFE is always happening for me not to me! The story of your life is a trap. We remember what is painful but the remembering self is the
Discipline and direct your mind. We need to look for what is right rather than what is wrong. EVERYONE has stress. Some have extreme stress.
Grudges do not help me. We don’t need to have resentment or hatred. The key is not stress.
Use your stress and don’t let stress use you!
Your worst problem is someone else’s dream.
How strong you really are! Who your friends really are? Build immunity to future challenges! What is the greatest thing that could happen in your life? Winning the lottery What is the most horrible thing? Becoming a quadraplegic Which one is happier three years after their thing? Neither are happier. Both are happier than before it happened.
GET a better quality of problem.
Make a psychological shift.
BREAKTHROUGH: a moment in time when everything changes. When the impossible becomes possible.
Whatever you do is based on your belief. Living is more painful than dying for some. Courage means you are afraid and you do it anyway.
What is a trigger for a breakthrough?
What made it possible for the change to last?
Breakthrough? Moment it changes? What made it possible for that change to last?
Stress, despair, step up, I will do whatever it takes to get through. If you want to take the island burn your boat!
NOT TAKING NO FOR AN ANSWER! Human emotions EXPLOSION is what makes you mentally become stronger.
What are you doing from 6-2
Actions equal results Formula to create breakthrough: “complexity is the enemy or execution”.
70% of Americans are overweight. To lose weight you must diet, exercise, read, audio, video, workout,
If we are going to execute we need to make the rituals that make it happen.
Three keys to a breakthrough Strategy (last): business, finance, body. Story (What is the story you are telling yourself?) Belief equals certainty! I have tried everything (blablabla). The story you are telling yourself changes everything. Change your story, change your life! Divorce your story of limitation and marry the story of your life. You cannot see what is in front of you because your belief has gotten in your way! None of it is new! We must adjust the story that we are telling ourselves! Your past does not equal your future! You must choose a different story! Use it to help others not suffer. YOU GET WHAT YOU LOOK FOR! The past does not equal the future unless you live there. If you are trying to get to the future you will not get there if you are looking in the rearview mirror. ALL breakthroughs comes from changing the story! Try is when you don’t think you will succeed. To change your story is to change your life. STATE: Mental emotional and physical state! When you fall in love with someone what will you do for them? The key is to push yourself through the challenges! Radical Change in your body, focus, and language! A depressed person had a drooped body. Shallow voice.
Train yourself to change your state. Focus equals feeling! Worry or anger? Our experience is determined by body and focus.
Shake body out, stand tall, close eyes. If we want to solve a problem we must change our state. We all have a warrior. Stand like a warrior! What is the sound of your warrior? What is the color of your warrior? YELLOW for me!
The warrior says all I need to focus on, remember and do is I CAN!!!
The warrior says all I need to focus on, remember and do is I WILL!!!
There is a magician in us! The part of us that knows it is all a game! You just need to change your perception. All I need to remember, do and experience to make this happen is what? Green
Lover is another one in us! What makes us special. What is beautiful? My lover is peace! Blue My lover says All I need to remember to focus on and do is seek peace! Its okay! Its handled!
Sovereign within you! Serving something more than yourself! Take care of something that you love! Find the queen, Kind of Sovereign in you? Let your sovereign give you a level of focus remember and do? Remember the end in mind!
They are here to serve!
What is your victory! What does it look like? Humility, fight within yourself!
What is an old story that you have been telling yourself? ( are you BSing yourself?) Anything you want or desire is of the father! What is the old story? What is the new story? What is your 2021 vision? What are two goals you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months 1 personal and 1 professional)
Used to be the victim and now a victor!
Change your story change your life!
Sell 10,000 worth of books! Change my body! Be close to my husband! STATE< STORY< STRATEGY!
What is the first action you would take to gain momentum.
Throw away bad food! Do not go in the break room and eat junk! SAY NO! Create ritual!
START CROSSFIT! COMMIT for a year! 4 days a week! I will not settle!
Four things to share: Assignment: What is the old story? What is the new story? What is your 2021 vision? What are two goals you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months 1 personal and 1 professional) 2 minutes or less! Challenge: #goalschallenge Share your new story and your 2021 vision why are you committed to it?
Creativity! Eligibility! Time Uniqueness! Prizes: tony robbins swag box. Sweatshirt Ultimate edge breakthrough, branded swag UPW guest 3 tickets! PREMIER
If you can take your worst experience and make it your best that is what this is about!
Incantations: Speaking with total authority. Experiencing something over and over. Conditioning yourself to become stronger! I am a force of nature and unstoppable. Condition the core belief. Strengthen my will.
We are rewarded in public for the things that we practice in private.
People are not their behavior.
68 degrees is the comfort zone. This is the joy you expect. It is the money you expect. Current identity.
The thermostat is your identity. This can change
Identity is external but its a reflection of how you perceive. Belief is something that you have said over and over and over.
REDEFINE who I am. How do we fix you?
Who are you?
Labels stick you in a box. You get in your head you are dead. Getting in your heart is important. You dont want to miss out on the things that don’t matter.
Find identity that lifts you to help you follow through.
You can define yourself by What you are and what you are not!
Life on your terms. Whatever you want most you will find a place to get it.
Train yourself to be the person on terms that you want! Be an intelligent risk taker. Enhance your identity. Knowledge is potential power. Execution trumps knowledge.
Form a triangle.
FIVE TO THRIVE:
STATE- Physiology change your body. Your physiology can put you in an uncertain face. Changing your body changes your biochemistry and you can take action. Using your voice changes you! Depression example. Train yourself with pleasure and it can condition you for good. Change the way you think, feel and behave. Understand or become. Example swimming.
You cannot think yourself into feeling better! Use your voice and movements dynamically.
What you focus on. Focus equals feeling! If you focus on dying you will die. Focus on living you will live. Wherever focus goes energy flows. Put ourselves in the state of what you want instead of what you feel. Focus on what we do want!
People are so afraid of a four level word RISK. We cannot let people control our focus. We are here to create things. Take some intelligent risks.
There are patterns of cocus. What do you spend more time focusing on. What you have or what you have? If you are an achiever you tend to focus on what is missing to fix it. You cannot sustain happiness if you focus on what is missing. You cannot build on failure you can build on success. The ultimate failure is focusing on what is missing. Focus on what you can control instead or what you cannot control. Do you focus on the past present or the future? Focus on what you have currently and what you can control. Focus on the present so you can enjoy it and the future to get excited about what is ahead.
The third is Language. Language equals Meaning. The words you attach to your experience become your experience. Whatever words we speak change our biochemistry.
Words and phrases shape how we feel. If you want to be happy you should focus on what you are grateful for. Change your body you can change your Focus.
To follow through you would circle the triangle. Create a compelling future: A reason to use your skills. What is your compelling future?
Winter is followed by spring. It is always darkest before the dawn! Create a compelling future! The most powerful force of all is the base outside the circle. Identity shapes your choices: We don’t do what we can: we do what we want.
Do not let the external world control us! I am in love! I am a wife. I am a mom. I am a daughter. I am a learner. I am nothing. I am everything. I am a force of nature. Adventure therapy. Anyone can deal with a horrible today if they have a compelling tomorrow. I must participate in my own rescue.
We are all controlled by our perceptions. Our perceptions control how we feel.
What’s great about this? You get what you look for and what you look for is controlled by your state, language and your patterns.
Identity shapes your choices:
Your core beliefs about who you are need to be enhances. Like doing incantations. Who wants to be happy no matter what!
Progress equals happiness.
When we grow we give. Meaningful is important!
Branding: A brand shapes how people perceive you.
HUMans do stupid shit!
Mac. Coke. Google.
What if you could develop a way so that when people thought of your industry they thought of you!
If we want to enhance our life we need to enhance our brand. Five Steps.
Understand the power of the brand!
Identify and articulate your competitive advantage!
What do you bring to the table?
Brand is a concept and a set of emotions.
What do you bring to the table that is unique and different?
Simply Encourage. Hi. I am Stephanie Ellison. One thing I know is EVERYONE needs encouragement in their journey. Like most, I have been at the crossroads of life and I can tell you that taking the path of tension isnt easy but it is worth it. Life is full of JOY and most people do not see it because they are looking down. LOOK UP. Take this journey with me into place of hopeful ambition. Together I can help you see a message with that mess you have found yourself in.
Getting to the other side of your discouragement.
I know that feeling, the one that leaves you feeling empty, hopeless, broken, and lonely. 20 years ago I was in that place. Homeless and heartbroken. I have spent the last 20 years cultivating relationships that encourage others to live a simple life full and real.
How would I describe my old identity and who am I really?
My old identity was:
My new identity is:
We judge ourselves by what we do. We are not our behaviors. If you want to change your identity or expand it.
Understand the true power of identity.
Identify and articulate your competitive advantage.
Practice communicating congruently.
Enhance or expand your identity!
Who have you been, who are you becoming who do you need to become?
Old identity, new identity. Defy the odds.
Hey I am Stephanie AKA Sunshine! I have been energetic throughout life but those damn limiting beliefs have often taken their toll on me. No MORE!
The person I am becoming is SUNSHINE Stephanie! I am shining even if there are clouds. I am consistent. I provide warmth and allow darkness to be penetrated by my presence! I will shine radiantly for my children, husband, community and for the world that I live in!
May we all find the shine in life!
80% of wealth is psychology and 20% is the how to.
Create your own economy
Sara Blakley Inventor of spanks- Wanted to be a lawyer because of her dad but she failed the LSAT 2 times.
What’s in it for me? That is the thing that people are all looking for!
Start small, scale fast,
What is the why?
What have you failed at? Failure is learning and if you don’t fail you don’t learn! Sense of urgency!
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!
If you are going to ask for something you need to be specific! Added value needs to be added to someone! GO to someone who can say yes!!!
You have nothing to lose GIVE me 10 minutes!
Who will you send this to! MAKE it SELL IT Build awareness!
Repetition is the mother of mastery!
We are all equal as soles but we are not equal in the marketplace!
It all comes down to added value! Add more value than anyone else!
HOW DO I ADD VALUE
What is my core message
Innovating is finding a better way to meet their clients needs
If you make someone happy you will overdeliver
You need to figure out how to add value.
WHO is your ideal client!
What is your irresistible offer.
OVER DELIVER Give More
Five things to innovate:
Change your product! Change the promotion. Change the people.
Change the location. Change the price!
Product Promotion People Place Price
Crisis creates breakthrough!
Enough pain! Enough inspiration! Pain or pleasure!
Anyone can do well when things are going their way! What do you do when things fall!
I am the creator of my life not the circumstances of my life!
YOUR worst day can become your best day if you become a manager of your circumstances.
My incredible husband teamed up with a legendary artist and friend to create a family heirloom that I will cherish for all of my days! I cried the ugly cry and Lord know we needed this bonding time!
Being in a family is not always easy! Sometimes it dark and difficult to traverse the path under our feet. 2020 proved to be especially difficult on so many families and our family was no exception. It’s hard but sometimes it is bright and full of pleasant twists, turns, and surprises but the unknown often leaves us to wonder if we are aimless in our pursuit of LIFE. Can this journey make sense?
Today, this chapter of our lives made sense. Pieces to our LIFE puzzle were perfectly placed in the snug spot they were designed to fit! My husband wrote the most amazing words that encompassed every person in our family except himself. We will write his after some time to contemplate the words!
First, he had us select favorite colors a few months ago and explain why we love them. I had almost forgotten until our 15 year old Emma brought it up while trying to figure out what dad was doing for us for Christmas. I chose the color yellow because it is a warm happy color full of smiles and sunshine. My nickname in school was sunshine! Abby picked Red because it was fierce! Emma picked grey because of the clouds in the sky! She loves thunderstorms and rain! Molly picked silver and gold because they glitter and Willow picked Pink and Purple because what five year old little girlie girl wouldn’t!
This gift was wrapped and next to it were six frames. One frame was empty and the others had five names and explanations carefully placed inside of them. We looked around as we entered the room and eagerly waited for danny to tell us what to do next.
He opened the moment with a beautiful kind word of encouragement about how our family was divinely placed together for a reason. He talked about how, while we are all independent humans, we all intertwine and form who we are and blend together in a way that cannot be separated from now into eternity. 😭❤️
Raw with emotion and nervous anticipation, he then unveiled the most beautiful custom design that he and Patrick Messersmith created just for our family! He took time to explain each color and aspect of the painting. He then played a recording by Ted Presley of the words written below. 😭😭😭❤️❤️❤️
This is hands down the most meaningful moment of our lives. Notice the white running through the center, that represents the divine! Notice the white cuts through like a hand running through each side and almost forms an abstract heart just as you would if you hold each hand in the shape of a half heart! Notice the dove shape in heart form as well! Notice the E in the center for Ellison! Notice each color beautifully placed and intertwined! Notice the red and grey emerging into their own just as our teenagers are emerging into their own adventures! Notice the circles (circles represent never ending)! Notice the yellow and blue still surrounding the pinks and golds! They are not ready to emerge yet! 😭😭😭❤️❤️! It’s perfect! It’s so perfect! Thank you Danny and Patrick and Ted for working so hard to make this life encompassing treasure for this momma to enjoy all the days of my life!
THE MEANING OF THE COLORS:
Stephanie, you are yellow.
As the sun radiates its brightest light on the earth, you reveal all things good within us. Your loving care brings light to our family, exposing and encouraging in us the virtuous and delightful. Like the sun, you burn brilliantly, constantly. Like clockwork, you rise and then you set. In your rising, you cast light on us, teaching us how to love one another. In your setting you radiate light to others, extending compassion far beyond our own tribe.
Then, you always return, faithfully, sometimes just when the night is coldest, bringing warmth as you rise once more.
As the sun pulls at the planets, you tug on our hearts. As gravity attracts celestial bodies, you hold us together and remind us of our purpose, why we should strive to be true to each other. As gravity establishes pathways for the planets, you allow us just enough room to be free, but hold us just close enough to ensure we do not float aimlessly away.
Yellow is compassion. Yellow is sunshine. Yellow symbolizes you.
Abby, you are red.
As the fiery flame glows red in your eyes, you burn continually on the fuel of grand adventure. You find yourself on the precipice of a new journey, one that belongs solely to you.
You have a love for the stars. As in astronomy, light from stars either presents to us from the red spectrum of light or from the blue spectrum. The red-shift tells us the star is moving away. The blue-shift tells us the star is moving closer.
Abby, you are at a place in life where you are red-shifting away from the days of your childhood, quickly. This is as it should be. You constantly chase after your destiny. We see you, in your glorious shades of red, reaching toward your future. Your family believes in you. You cause your family to swell with pride of you. Your family looks forward to the stories you will tell about your red adventures.
Perhaps someday, years from now, you will occasionally return to us in reminiscent blue, changed by your life experiences, just as Bilbo was changed by his great adventure. We will sit in that fleeting moment, captivated by the story of you.
Then, I imagine, we will see that familiar red flame flare once more in your eyes as you lean into yet another adventure, one we will look forward to hearing about on your next blue return.
Red is diligent. Red is intense. Red symbolizes you.
Emma, you are grey.
As the rainclouds hold life-giving water for the earth, deciding when and where it will gently fall, you hold our memories deep, waiting for just the right moments to release their sentiment upon our family.
A quiet observer, you take pleasure in solitude, happiest when, in your private space, you reflect on your life experiences, secretly taking in the moments happening all around you, for the posterity of our family, your family. The depths of your thoughts will grow exponentially along with your years.
Grey. Infinite blends of variety exist between black and white. Grey makes room for the subtleties in life, those wandering truths which can elude most people. We appreciate those truths best through a lens of interpretive flexibility, not rigid or static conclusions.
You best express yourself, Emma, through the medium of humor. Your grey understanding of the world allows you to masterfully help others see the comedy, the absurdities, happening all around us, wherever we may go. Your grey also permits you to accept others just as they are, without requiring revision in exchange for your acceptance.
Grey is depth. Grey is wisdom. Grey symbolizes you.
Molly, you are gold.
Your worth reaches beyond understanding. Your value stretches farther than treasured and rare.
As gold has forever represented a standard for wealth and prosperity, you approach life with a high standard, determined to get all you can out of this opportunity you received.
Like gold, you will make a huge impact on the world around you. The drive found within you remains different from others, set apart, sacred, holy. Your shining, metallic, golden hue reminds us that we must allow you to rise to that which you have been called, buttressing your efforts along the way, leading you from behind for this brief period of time, knowing you will soon go further than we have ever aspired to go ourselves. You will live fuller. Laugh harder. Love longer.
You dream in colors of gold and silver, sparkling and other-worldly, hopeful, euphoric. This is the kind of world you endeavor to invent for all humanity to enjoy, beginning with your family, and reaching out across the vast sea of humanity, a humanity that reaches desperately for the hope which resides within you.
You possess a drive in your inner being as strong as diamagnetism. Where others may be drawn by magnetic forces to see the world in a myopic way, you resist this force. You gently pull away from outside forces, staying true to the direction you intend to go, uninfluenced, unaffected. You forge a new way.
Gold is power. Gold is precious. Gold symbolizes to you.
Willow, you are pink.
You demonstrate gracious empathy, endless imagination and surprising fierceness.
Through your boundless consideration of other’s feelings, you offer the simplest of gifts, rich with meaning, like a ubiquitous leaf, pink in hue and fallen from an autumn oak. You used one to express your gratitude for pausing during our walk in your moment of pain brought on by a sticker in a shoe!
Willow, you seem magical, mystical, veiled in the fleetingly esoteric concealments of childhood, like a vignette in shades of pink and purple. You take pleasure in play, alone with your imagination. In these moments the pink world comes to life around you and invites you to become its One True Queen, a moment animated by your beautiful child-like spirit. This capacity for fantasy will always remain a unique part of you, no matter how old you are, no matter where life takes you.
You ferociously guard yourself from negativity, defending yourself from that which threatens to change your paradigm of wonder to a lesser form of human experience. Resisting that which says pinks eventually must give way to duller palettes. I pray you never let your guard down. Protect that which belongs to you. Promote your pink authenticity in a world of dull ambivalence.
Pink is perfect. Pink is pure. Pink symbolizes you.
Instead of resolutions I tend to focus on words for the New Year. I decided 2021 needed several words and I wanted to share a few of mine with you. I would love to hear what yours are.
GRATEFUL: This year I want to focus on what I am grateful for. It is way too easy to focus on the things that are hard or lacking in life but I need to continue to see my glass as half full.
GRIT: I had grit as a kid while traversing through adversity but as I have grown older at times it seems that I may have left grit in my past. I want to dig a little deeper with that word and apply its meaning again. According to Caren Baruch-Feldman, PhD, Having grit means having passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals. It is the ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and persevere when you face obstacles. This kind of passion is not about intense emotions or infatuation.
KINDNESS: I love being kind but I also love searching for kindness in the world. I want to seek out more kindness and highlight it here throughout the year. We could all use stories of kindness. Oh and while we are at it I want to practice being more kind to other humans, especially those around me.
SELF-CARE: This is so very important and one of my coaches D-Grant has shared beautifully the importance of this aspect of my life. It is so very important and not as selfish as I thought before working with him. I would love it if you all would take time to practice self-care with me this year! Share stories of how you are taking care of yourself!
PERSPECTIVE: It would be easy for me to only see my point of view but…my precious other half has taught me about being able to see the perspectives of those around me. In doing this I will be listening more and talking less. I want to not just share my own perspective but truly see those around me. We are blessed to be a melting pot of culture and beliefs! It is an honor to share the planet with others who are so drastically different but so profoundly beautiful.
LOVE: This is a vital part of my life. I want to love others better. I want to give 7-9 hugs a day to my children and husband and I want to sit with the broken hearted and listen as they cry and probably cry with them. I want to share life and grace with others and help other feel loved. Love can be felt in the simplest of ways even if I only pass by other souls and share a smile and a wink! I love people. I want to be better at the whole love thing!
What are your words this year? Do any of these resonate with you?
Today is my brother’s birthday. He was born in 1983 and lived until 2020. He was born during an ice storm at home because the ambulance couldn’t get to them in time. He was beautiful and full of life. He had ADHD so his attention was shared with the world spontaneously. He was messy and beautifully unorganized and his gifts were found in music, creative carpentry, and making people laugh. Goodness, he could sing and his voice sounded like Randy Travis. I so wish I had a recording of him singing to share with you today!
In honor of my brother, I have a few things I would like to ask. Pick one or all, I do not care, I would love to see sibling love today!
♥️If you have a brother could you do me a favor and call them today just to say I love you…even if you have been fighting…even if you haven’t been close lately. Do not let another day go by without saying I love you. (one day you may not have them) Share it with me if you feel lead. Be silly or sweet or both! JUST CONNECT!
♥️Comment with a picture of your sibling!
♥️If your sibling has passed away, tell me about them! Share anything you want!
♥️If you are a parent, tell me your favorite sibling story about your children! Make me laugh, cry, or both!
❤️Go look at the bright star tonight and remember to look for light in the world rather than focusing on the darkness.
Losing Shawn in March was a nightmare. Celebrating his life today feels bittersweet. Life just isn’t fair and although I know this I cannot help but feel the pain of today.
I decided after Shawn died this year that I wanted to include both him and Daniel in my Children’s book. In my moments of self-loathing, I have said, why? How did lightning strike twice and how in the world did I lose both of my brothers tragically? Why??? I may never get an answer on this side of heaven but I can choose to keep their memory alive in the life that I have left on earth.
I was not planning to share this with the world but I have decided to share it today in honor of him. I am sharing one of the pictures from my children’s book with you. This is a picture of both of my brothers at the zoo. I am happy when I imagine them together. My oldest brother Daniel is holding Shawn on his shoulders. Daniel was like a dad to us since our dad was incarcerated for most of our lives. The elephant is symbolic for “the elephant never forgets” just as I will never forget them. There is a little heart on the fence and that represents love is always around and although it is not always felt in moments of great inner turmoil, there is always someone who loves you even in your darkest times.
Daniel died in 2006 by suicide. Shawn tragically died in March while battling addiction. I hate that they are gone and I miss them terribly. Today, I want YOU to know that you are not alone. If you struggle with depression or mental illness please get help. There is no shame in reaching out. NONE! Do not try to numb the pain with drugs or alcohol. I have the suicide hotline in my phone for those dark moments of my life when I feel isolated or alone and I am not ashamed. Here add this to yours and share as needed for you or for others 800-273-8255. I see a counselor and I am not ashamed. I used to be embarrassed but I am not anymore! There is no discrimination when discussing mental illness, it can hit us all. We could ALL use mental health days and practice self-care. Take care of yourself and your babies. Reach out to your siblings and make sure they are okay.
Happy Birthday, Shawn! I pray this post honors you and Daniel. I love you and miss you. I will be out looking at the bright star tonight and hope to see the beautiful light in the darkness.
In honor of my brother’s birthday, I have added my book to Amazon Kindle and TODAY is the release date. I am sharing your face with the world today in hopes that people would bond with those they love and nurture the greatness in them.
When I was seven years old and my brother was eight we were in and out of foster care often and that year was no different. That year my birth mother had just overcome her addiction for a brief time and settled into an apartment, after being homeless. She got us back just before Christmas. That Christmas my brother Shawn and I were so excited because we had a home (little apartment) with our mom, we had food and clothes on our backs. We had so much to celebrate and be thankful for. We wanted to decorate for Christmas but mom couldn’t afford it at the time and our biological father was incarcerated leaving the financial support to the government, outsiders, and a single mom who held a job at a local waffle house.
The night of Christmas Eve my brother and I sat together on a little balcony from the second-floor apartment talking together about Santa, his reindeer, and elves. We wondered how in the world this jolly bearded friend in a red suit would find us in this new place without a chimney or tree or lights. We were sad but there is something about being little and believing in the magic of Christmas that invaded our moment of doubt and created a sense of hopeful wonder. We must have asked our mother 10,000 questions that night before bed. She must have known what was around the corner because she was not sad, but we sure didn’t have a clue. We left out milk but didn’t have cookies. We sat the little cup of milk next to our Christmas wish list on the old scratched up, brown table with a broken chair.
My brother and I shared a bed and that night just before we fell asleep he wrapped his arms around me and said he loved me. He said no matter what, we have each other for Christmas and we have momma now too. I was content with that. We fell asleep.
The next day we woke up and rubbed our eyes. We both slid out of our bed and walked past mommas room. She was still asleep. We tiptoed into wonderland. As we stood at the end of the hallway I could see the lights. I couldn’t believe it! A REAL Christmas tree was set up with colorful lights and a beautiful angel was on top! I still feel the warmth and excitement that I felt that day just thinking about it! We both screamed with excitement! That tree was so beautiful that Shawn and I thought it would be a good idea to drag it down the hallway to show our mom. We began to drag it but we didn’t think about a few things first! The hallway was curved and I don’t know if you know this but Christmas trees don’t bend well sooo… It got stuck at the bend and we also got pine needles everywhere! Mom woke up to our panic and asked what we were doing. “We wanted to show you our tree momma”! We may not have been the smartest. 😂. Momma helped us put it back and we begged her to let us open the gifts. She took forever to make her morning cup of coffee and finally it was time. I opened the first gift and it was a beautiful outfit with fun bright patterns! Oh, how amazing it was to have something new! Shawn got an outfit too and it was blue and handsome! The next gift was the most beautiful quilt for our bed! ❤️. Momma handed us the last two presents and we opened them with excitement. I got a Walkman! A real Walkman tape player! I was so excited to listen to my first cassette tape, Reba! My final gift is one that has inspired me throughout the years. I got my first film camera. When I was seven years old a person that I didn’t know gave me a camera. Years later I became a photographer. Photography has been a means for me to grieve loss, process pain, and celebrate with others. I am so thankful for that camera! I am so thankful for those gifts. Momma told us that we were placed on an angel tree and nice people gave us gifts just in case Santa couldn’t find us. They also gave us the magic of the tree and lights! It was all so very magical!
If you have an opportunity to bless a child or family this season, please remember that a little goes a long way. Children who have lived in poverty or have been homeless really are so so very grateful for the new clothing, shoes, and blankets. They really are excited to receive just one or two toys! If you can, grab an angel from Walmart and make this Christmas special for them. Look for children in your community to bless. I sincerely want to bless so many children this year. I thought by sharing my story maybe I could encourage you to help me help them!