Revisit, Rework, Release

Gratitude can be expressed in remembering. Remembering often causes grief. Revisit, Rework, Release

This example is so very real. The arrow on the right is a very accurate representation of grief, at least it has been for me. I ran across it a while ago and decided to share. Many are grieving. May we all be mindful.

Grief is a process that may lead to a final destination of acceptance but I would argue that you may never truly reach the tip of the arrows head. Acceptance rarely, if ever, completely finds its way to you. It is possible for you can find meaning and champion a cause in honor of those you have lost but to truly be accepting that someone you deeply love has so very tragically and permanently departed from your life is hard to comprehend.

The voyage of working your way through grief at its genesis starts with denial and your grasping for straws often tangles your innermost being into knots and with every twist and turn it gets messier. Many days, months, and even years are spent attempting to make sense of it all. As you begin to feel like you are making progress, a stage that you carefully unpacked last year revisits and squeezes your heart causing it to feel as though the organ, responsible for keeping the blood flowing through your body, is going to explode again. You will be forced many times over to accept the reality of the loss even while you are begging God for just one more moment or dream with them. Revisit, rework, release.

Grief interrupts your life and a smell as sweet as chocolate pie with mountains of whip cream, decorated with little chocolate chips, has the potential to flood your eyes with burning tears causing a blurry fog to remind you what your new reality looks like. That sweet smell encapsulates a memory that makes you want to talk to someone who is unable to talk back so the burning tears begin to fall. Revisit, rework, release.

As you move past each stage of grief something happens to the hopes and dreams that died with your loved ones, in my case my beloved brothers. Often times as you move past a layer of hurt you will be met with an unraveling of sorts and those knots seem even more tangled. Detangling hurts. Searching for new hopes and dreams can feel like a nightmare. Revisit, rework, release.

The darkness of child abuse and trauma is that it is ingrained into the body, mind, and spirit and although you want it to just leave, it is always there, interrogating your life, causing you to question your purpose. The grief of not only death but the loss of a “normal” life here on earth is constantly tripping you as you attempt to move forward. It’s as if every few steps you take are met with a pit that you trip and fall into and you constantly attempt to get back up and work your way out of the pit. You know the only way out is up so you keep trying and as you slip and fall you continue to try and get a good grip on reality. Sometimes you want to give up, but you stay and climb anyway. Revisit, rework, release.

As the journey unfolds and as you are moving the best that you can through this grief, have grace with yourself. It is easy for others to say “be grateful” it is much harder to see through the messy line between the memories and loss of those you cherish and loved so deeply. Before you walk from threshold to threshold revisit the good memories and the good that you experienced with your loved ones, rework the reason you will choose to celebrate, release all that is holding you back from the joy of the present moments you are living in.

If you know someone walking through a season of grief, I would like to ask that you not be afraid to sit with them as they eat their chocolate pie and cry. Grab a piece of that pie and ask them to slam it into your face or you can let them wipe a little smidge of whip cream on your nose. Caution, this may cause laughter as food fights always do. Go ahead and make a mess outwardly and laugh together as you clean up the mess you have made. I promise the outward mess met with laughter will be worth it. Create new, fun memories during this time. Hearts may be burdened but your love and joy makes all the difference. Be patient as they/we continue to revisit, rework, and release. Who knows, maybe you can help rekindle a brighter future with new hopes and dreams.

Dear Daniel and Shawn (bubbas),
I love you both so very much. You were amazing brothers and given the childhood that we had I would dare to call you superheroes. I know I am not responsible for the abuse that we endured but I truly am so sorry for the pain we have suffered. Your lives were cut incredibly short and I will always feel the pain of that fact.

I know this would not surprise you but I have decided to continue being your stubborn little sister. I refuse to give up on making memories here on earth. A piece of me died with you the day that each of you died but there is still something burning within me. I can hear you now saying it’s heartburn, no it’s not heartburn lol. It’s a WILL to live and live life to the fullest. I want you here but I cannot continue to feel stuck without you. I will revisit but refuse to stay. I will rework but I refuse to stay, I will release you and remember all of the joy you brought to my life and the lives of others. I will keep your spirit alive with chocolate pie, gratitude, and love. I miss you. I miss you both so damn much that often times it hurts to breathe. I will breath though. I will continue to try and live the remainder of my life with no regrets. Revisit, rework, release with no regrets!

Love Eppie

The five stages of grief are:

  • denial
  • anger
  • bargaining
  • depression
  • acceptance

I ran…

Remember.

Life. Death.

In March of 2020. Everything in our city, state, country, and world was shifting into a place of uncharted territory as a pandemic seeped its way into every part of the globe! People were unsure of what was happening and uncertainty coupled with job loss, business shutting down, and insecurities started to plague many. Sickness began to creep into our community and spread fast. We were not only losing a grip on everything as we had always known it to be, we were also losing people to this invisible enemy. All of this loss was happening during isolations and lockdowns. Doors began to lock and security began to be tighten its grip in our hospitals and even our nursing homes. Our schools were shutting down with no real promise of when they would open. The chaos was just beginning to set in.

Shock and Fear

One day during lockdown my little family and I were hanging out at a beautiful outdoor work of art at a local University here in Abilene, ACU’s Jacobs Dream. We were enjoying the beautiful weather outside and talking to one of our precious daughters about what she means to us❤️. We were wrapping up a tough week and quite honestly had already been placed in a spot of humility at the realization that life is so valuable and connection to all of our daughters is priceless and worth being patient for!

I ignored my phone as two calls came through by the same number, because we were having a family moment. We had our feet in the water and we were hanging out. Those moments are rare with teens! A voice message was left on my phone and for some reason I felt that I needed to check it. I stood up and walked to the car and called her back as the lady on the message said she was a nurse and had a patient that she believed was my relative and she needed to talk to me.

I wasn’t prepared.

The moment that I heard “we can’t tell you much but you need to come quick your brother Shawn is with us and we need family here”, my heart sank into the pit of my stomach and I felt instant fear. I knew deep in my spirit the heart wrenching truth was that the prognosis was not good.

I fell to my knees.
I cried.
I wept.
I prayed.

We made it home quickly and worked out plans for the girls because the hospitals weren’t letting people in and the hospital waiting areas were shut down. Our daughter Willow is one of the most empathetic children in the world. She was 4 at the time and had no idea why mommy was crying. She noticed I was trying to pack a bag. She thought I didn’t like packing a bag so she came over to me, asked me to sit down and gave me a big hug. She said “mommy I love packing, I will help you, don’t cry momma.” She hugged me, wiped my tears and brought me her little stuffed lion to hug while she packed my bag with my husband.

I needed her empathy.

We drove and my mind raced with things like, “this isn’t real, they got it wrong, he will be fine, there is no way that God would allow both of my brothers to die so very young”.

Piercing truth.

When I walked into his room I grabbed his hand and begged God to save him. I promised to never do a bad thing again in my entire life (I know perfection may be impossible but I was desperate). I promised that I would do anything if he could just please perform a miracle and WAKE Shawn UP! Please, I would cry out! I opened his eyes with my own hands and they wouldn’t move. His hazel brown eyes were no longer alive. I touched his feet, squeezed his knee (he hated that when we were kids) and grabbed his hand again and sobbed!

Gone.

He was gone. I asked to see evidence and they showed me all of the scans and carefully explained all that they could. I made them show me all of the tests that they ran regarding reflexes and responses. I asked if we could keep him on life support just to see if God would bring him back. I looked for any silver lining. I was desperate for him to wake up. I couldn’t say goodbye. I just couldn’t. His heart was beating but only because of life support. His brain stem had no activity.

Forced goodbyes are no fun.

After three days of staying by his side, talking to him, praying for him, singing to him, brushing his hair and begging him to wake up, it was time for me to say goodbye. I just wasn’t ready. I knew that I would never be ready. Oh how it hurt. I cried the hardest that I had ever cried. It was a cry that arose from the deepest part of my soul as if part of me had decided in that moment to escape from this shell of a sister to unite with her Irish twin brother. I begged them to make sure someone held his hand and asked them to please never leave him alone.

Alone.

Because of COVID my husband couldn’t be there with me. They wouldn’t allow more than one person with him. No children were allowed to come say goodbye. My heart sank. I wondered if I had done enough. I could not think of anything more that I could have done but I was still beating myself up because my prayers, my pleas with the medical staff and my love could not save him here on earth. He was on his way to the Father in heaven and perhaps he was already there watching as I was trying to keep him here.

Life after Death

He was an organ donor. His brain was dead but most of his organs were still vital due to the medical staff getting him on life support quickly enough. I am so thankful they didn’t just let him die. This is a miracle to me. They were able to find three recipients, one for his heart and lungs, one for his kidney and liver, and one for his other kidney.

After returning home, I called the Southwest Transplant Alliance team and emailed often to see if the families who received my brothers organs were recovering well. I was nervous for them. I began to pray for them the moment they took Shawn into the operating room . Wondering how they were consumed me through my grief and it also allowed me to feel hope. Devestation turned to hope. I kept praying for weeks and months for these families. Finally on September 10, 2020 I received a letter from two recipients. 😭😭🙌🏻🙌🏻❤️❤️. They didn’t give their last name but Scott and Gabriel were the two that I was able to now put a name to! They both were both healing. Praise God!

The calls.

I received another letter from the transplant team that included phone numbers and addresses for the recipients. It took a while due to having to get permission from the recipient families. I waited a few days and finally mustered up the courage to call. It was special to hear stories about their lives. My brothers gift provided an opportunity for a second chance to live life to the fullest. Their story is not mine to tell but I can tell you that I am so grateful that they have allowed me to be a part of it in some way. I cannot imagine not knowing who they are and how they are doing!

A special gift for me.

Something sweet and simple that truly makes a difference in my life at this time is that my brothers heart and lungs recipient heard me say the nickname that my brother called me and he now calls me by the same name. Eppie. I feel my brother every time I get a call or message with that name in it.

5K.

Yesterday I participated in my first of many 5K’s for Southwest Transplant Alliance. I had only heard about it a few days prior so I quickly put together a team. #HisLifeMattered. I ran. I set a goal to try and do the entire run in 35 minutes. I ran. At 35 minutes I had a tenth of a mile left and I began to struggle hard. I felt like I couldn’t go further. As I was trying to convince myself not to quit, I looked up and tears filled my eyes as a girl name Kari McQueen was running in my direction. I hesitated for a second but then decided to be brave and ask her if I could run with her for that last tenth of a mile. She said yes! I felt like a blubbering idiot because I was run crying 😂😭😳. I couldn’t stop. Through broken, shallow breathing, I said “I am running in memory of my brother Shawn who tragically died in 2020. I just found out about the 5K a couple of days ago and since it’s virtual I am running alone and I didn’t train. People all over the world are doing it just not in the same place.” She let me join her and I finished!!! 🙌🏻🥳🎉💪🏼

The reason I am celebrating.

Right when I was almost finished with my run when I realized that I was running at ACU. I had intended to run at redbud park but made a last minute change because a friend wanted to meet there afterwards. I seriously hadn’t thought about the fact that I was in the same spot that I had previously been the moment I got the call from the nurse about my brother. I had somehow blocked that out until the last tenth of a mile when I was running towards that outdoor work of art called Jacob’s Dream 😳. I felt the pain. I felt that I could not go on and just then God sent an angel runner to run with me!

When I finished, she kept running but she looped back around as I was heading to my car. She asked if she could pray with me. What a sacred moment as she grabbed my sweaty hands and connected with me. I fell to my knees and wept. She prayed and cried with me. Her compassion and love was piercing my tender heart. I felt the love of her humanity as it connected to the spirit of Jesus. It was a powerful moment. One I never want to forget.

Be brave. Ask.
Be kind. Give.

When you cannot go further look up and ask for help! When you can, look around and give! We all need connection! We all need compassion. We all are going through different seasons and need one another now more than ever.

Be Confident and Kind as you carry on. Register to be a donor. It’s not only life saving but it is also life giving to those left behind to grieve.

Love, Eppie
Stephanie Ellison

Never Give Up

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!

#nevergiveup #trycrythentryagain

Miss D. & This Texas Storm

As I reach out to my students, family, friends, and neighbors to check on them during the most challenging winter season yet, I am humbled. This year the snowfall and below zero temperatures are setting records and causing the worst power and water outage our city has ever seen. I can’t help but remember a time when I was a kid. I only share these experiences because they may be helpful to some and because one day, I hope my children find value in my lived experiences just as I now see the value.

Some of you may already know this, but for those of you who don’t, I need to preface this with, due to difficult life circumstances, I was in and out of foster care growing up. I once lived with a woman named Miss. D. She was about 80+ years old, and although I did not know its value at the time, she survived the Great Depression. She wasn’t the nicest person, and her house seemed to always smell like boiled cabbage, YUCK. She was too picky about how much food was on our plate and made us eat what she provided, or we went to bed hungry. I didn’t like that rule then, but I get it now and ask for forgiveness for any selfishness I swam in during my youth days. It was the early 1990’s and the little house we lived in had running water and electricity. Since I was six, I thought she had some bizarre rules. We could not turn on a light at night, and we could not run the water. She had a sink full of water in the bathroom, kitchen, and a tub full for bathing. This water was not allowed to be drained for an entire week. Cold baths, anyone? I remember how weird it felt when I would get in trouble for turning the light on or for trying to turn on the sink water. I lived in that house for around a year before my mom got us back. I recently visited that home and captured a picture. Looking back, I remember her telling us stories about not having water growing up due to a drought. She did everything to save and ration her resources.

Seeing our community struggle so much this week is so difficult. I have seen those with bad character, and I have seen MANY with AMAZINGLY generous hearts. I will focus on the good because where your focus goes, your energy flows! If we focus on the bad, we will only see the bad, and if we focus on the good, we can find good all around! I watched as people shared how to melt snow to make water for boiling and drinking or cooking. Our community shared their houses with strangers and neighbors since over 20,000 were without power. I have watched as my church opens its doors to both campuses so that people have a warm spot to rest from these weary winter storms. They used buckets of baptism water in the restrooms! Our local Chick Fil A has given free meals to the church to feed warm meals to all displaced from their homes. The local Hardin Simmons University President helped take care of 700+ students and helped provide water and power to community members. A man named Tony Perez and his fantastic team is giving out free burgers and drinks to those in need in our community. A family gave up their Airbnb because it was vacant and had water and heat to house a family in need. A family provided water to students in need. People thanked our power linemen and community officials for the sleepless nights and cold days of overtime they have put into trying to help solve this crisis. To put it simply, we have amazing people in this world willing to work hard to help others.

Sometimes it is hard to see the bigger picture while struggling through the path before us. Maybe we can use this as an opportunity to tell our children about the Great Depression. Perhaps we can ask them to help us figure out how to help our neighbors who may be struggling worse than we are. Some may accuse me of being an idealist, but I believe there are beautiful lessons to be learned in the more challenging days we face. It is up to us to know. My brother and I survived about 12 months of rationing water and eating cabbage in elementary school while living with an older woman full of wisdom, charity, and very uncompromising when it came to resources. She survived the depression for 43 months and also the second World War for about six years. If she could live through all that and provide a home for crazy little children full of energy, we can do anything. We can survive a week of whatever this is. We are tough! We are TEXANS! We are Texas Strong yet again! Sure it will be uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe. Living with Miss D has taught me that we can do anything for some time. Reach out to your neighbors. Help wherever you can, and make sure you ask for help if you need it! Sometimes the most simple act of kindness can make all the difference in the world.

-Love Steph

LOVE ( to my love Danny)

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! ❤️

From Hugs to Thugs! Classy to Crazy!

Homeless and Cold

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

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.

-love, Steph

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

New World New You Notes:

DAY 1

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?

Feet in alignment. Sprint still. Arms forward circle, arms backwards circle. Hands temple elbows together. Sitting tall.

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.

Change momentum.

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!

BATMAN POSE

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.

Discover:

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!

DAY 2

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.

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.  

  1. Understand the true power of identity.
  2. Identify and articulate your competitive advantage.
  3. Practice communicating congruently.
  4. Live it! 
  5. Market it!  

Enhance or expand your identity!  

#identitychallenge 

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!

DAY3

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.  

  1. WHO is your ideal client!
  2. What is your irresistible offer.
  3. 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! 

CREATE!!!  

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. 

The Gift

A Sacred Moment with my family:

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.

Danny, you are Blue…

To be continued!