Personal Thoughts

 

Alcohol Industry - Napa Valley Vineyard

Now that my life has calmed down since the move, I feel like it is time to share some updates. First of all, yes, I moved and left the alcohol industry. I will preface this post by saying it is a long one. One that was equally as hard to write as it was soothing. It’s been a rough year. Probably one of the hardest I’ve been through. Truth be told, I feel like a completely different person than who I was at the beginning of this year. My heart has been beat up, my head struggles to understand how I got to this point, my body is heavier and my social media a little more quiet. However, God always has a bigger plan and for that I’m extremely grateful. Needless to say, all the things that happened this year has made me realize that I was made for more. 

Over the years of running this blog I have watched it evolve into a beautiful piece of art. One that I have grown along with. Sadly while going through all the chaos of the last 6 months that I was, I had to take a step back and it just about killed me. Blogging is my outlet, it is the place I get to be brutally honest with others and more importantly, with myself. While most see a girl who has an extensive closet and way too many shoes, I see a girl who wants to help others feel beautiful and help herself too. However, the emotional toll of this past summer left me feeling anything but beautiful. Who knew that so much stress and depression could make you gain a ton of weight? As some of you remember I lost my grandpa in May. In that same week, I found out the guy I was dating at the time had a serious issue with alcohol. Not a week that I would like to remember but one that has brought me to where I am today, and for that I have found the silver lining. 

If you follow me on Instagram you saw an Instagram Story a few months back talking about how I didn’t have any new posts on my blog, because I didn’t like the way I look. There was so much truth to that statement and you only saw the pretty version, not the three takes before, where tears welled up in my eyes. I know depression and stress can do crazy things to your body, but man, gaining a lot of weight was just another side effect of this mess. 

I promised myself I would never give too many details as to what happened but I will give you a small insight into what I endured. I wasn’t quiet about the fact that I started dating someone in the Spring of this year. After not dating anyone for the last 6 years, you could say I was bound to fall hard, and I did. However, happiness turned into trauma and fun turned into exhaustion. I had never been around anyone that truthfully struggled with alcohol. I have been around plenty of drunk people in my lifetime, but never anyone that could chug a beer and two minutes later look you dead in the eye and deny it. It was scary how well he hid things from me. From the manipulation, to the small lies which turned into monstrous ones, to the struggle with addiction and the ugliness of depression and anxiety that came with it. It was like I was watching what was happening but couldn’t control any part of it. I’m not naive, I had heard of people being like this, however I had never dealt with it first hand. Isn’t it sad what social media can hide? We all look so picture perfect and happy when the camera is on, but these days, I’m more concerned about what is happening when the camera is off. 

While this summer was one I would have loved to avoid, that was not God’s plan. This summer left me angry and numb, however it also made me realize that I was made for more. I believe that no one is perfect and when you love someone you have to accept their faults, but you also have to know when it is dangerous to your own life or health and yes that includes mental health.

For those of you who know me, you know that my job for the last 3 years was making alcohol look glamourous. I found pride in being the best I could be at my job and making others want to consume alcohol. I hate to say it, but I was good at it. In a moments notice that changed and the pride I felt immediately turned to guilt and guilt turned into remorse. I felt this weight on my chest unlike one I had ever felt. While I do not judge anyone who drinks responsibly, I have simply realized that I can no longer contribute to the reason why someone drinks. You may not understand my reasoning and may think it is foolish, but let me assure you, it is not a position I came to lightly. 

The sleepless nights I stayed awake wondering if one of my advertisements was the reason someone potentially drank and then they decided to drive. The heart wrenching news stories of drunk driving accidents that killed innocent people started to haunt me and bring me to tears the moment I read the headline. The fear of someone breaking down the door to my apartment because I know the effect alcohol can have on someone, even someone who swears he, “has a good heart.” 

The pressure of having to hide it all to keep my job, took its toll. The bubbly girl with a great attitude quickly became the girl with no make up on and no smile because she feels numb inside. This has all led me to make an extremely tough decision. One that I never saw coming and certainly never planned for. The reason of why I left the alcohol industry. 

Like I said earlier, I am made for more. I wanted to go to bed at night and feel like I made a difference for the better in someone’s life. I want to contribute to helping others and yes, even helping those with addictions. I wanted to be a light in the world again and I mentally couldn’t do that when I had so much guilt in my heart over my employment. The hardest part was accepting the fact that I did NOT fail. I moved to Napa with the intention to further my knowledge in wine and I did just that. However my intentions have changed, drastically.

I am so grateful for the opportunities I was given in the wine industry but I have fully accepted that is no longer where I’m meant to be. As much as I tried to fight it and wrestle with God, He showed me loud and clear that I am made for more. So I ask that you all be graceful in your responses. While my time in Napa was short, I learned more about myself there, than I have in previous YEARS elsewhere. You may think I’m crazy or foolish for leaving however when you go through something as traumatic as I have, foolish is the furthest word from my mind. 

I did the best I could. I tried with every fiber of my being to help someone who ended up not really wanting to be helped. He liked the drama and attention, but then again at one point in my life, so did I. I guess it comes with age and experience that you realize what’s really important. Like surrounding yourself with good people who support your overall goal, not ones that feed into your addiction. The first 12 drafts of this blog were filled with a lot more strong worded sentences, but my patience in posting this allowed me to already understand the reasons why this had to happen. I serve a big God and I am 150% confident that this was his way of pulling me away from something I was good at and place me somewhere where I can be great and let my true gifts flourish and prosper. I’m no longer angry, but instead grateful. I’m grateful that I am stronger now than I was just a few short months ago. I am humbled by the prayers that God has answered and I’m excited for this new chance at helping others. 

While this year was hard, there were some bright spots through it all. Relationships were repaired within my family, and they were ones I didn’t think could be fixed. I grew close to my friend Sally and found so much comfort in her non judgmental words and overly supportive hugs. I saw a whole different side of my dad. His brother struggled with addiction and I think that made him even more compassionate to what I was feeling. My dad is not an overly emotional guy, he’s known for being the tough as nails one in the family, but he hugged me when I needed to be hugged and let me talk when I needed to vent. It was unexpected but very much appreciated. My family showed up, and in a big way. I have so much respect for my parents, sister and brother in law. They were supportive and gracious through it all. They helped pick up the pieces after what felt like a war and made sure that I knew that God has a plan for all of this. And even my sweet nephew, Mr. Shane. When his aunt would call in tears, he would lovingly ask “Nuh Nuh, why are you sad?” Be still my heart. 

It has taken me months to write this post and thanks for bearing with me to the end. I appreciate you all and your grace and understanding means a lot. Thank you to everyone who has messaged me in the last few months. I had two options when it came to this post, avoid it or write it. I chose to write it. So many people reached out after one of my videos showing support and expressing their own feelings about what they have been through. I pray this post brings comfort to others just like it brought peace to me when I started writing it. Let this post be a piece of encouragement to anyone in a tough situation, it gets better, but only if you make the positive choices to get yourself to a better place. You have the choice to make a change. You have a choice to walk away from that relationship. You have a choice to take a new job. You have a choice to move to a new city. YOU. HAVE. A. CHOICE. While I don’t know if I’ll ever really be who I used to be, I am confident this is who I was meant to become. ❤️

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Village Baking Company Modesto

So you’ll notice that the image above isn’t retouched, the lighting isn’t bright and it’s not arranged how I normally would have if I were posting it on Instagram. Well, this is a real life post and that requires a real life photo of my lunch while sitting in a cafe.

Have you ever sat in a cafe and listened to the conversations around you? Now I don’t mean this in a creepy way, that isn’t my intention or the purpose of this post. However, every now and then I love to just sit in a cafe, by myself, completely removed from technology and just be still. While in the pursuit of peace and quiet, I always tend to over hear conversations around me. Some of them are light hearted, girlfriends catching up, talking about their kids. Some are more burdening on the heart, a friend opening up to her other friend about how hard her divorce has been. No matter the place, time of day or type of cuisine, I always hear some pretty interesting conversations. Sitting in a cafe can be very eye opening and humbling.

Why is Michelle writing a blog post all about other people’s business? I’m not, the purpose of this post is to help you stop and realize just how much people are truly dealing with. We get so caught up in our Instagram feed, our Facebook friends and we forget about those people who are sitting in front of us and around us. I am a firm believer that there is always someone out there less fortunate or in a tougher situation than you. In the moment I forget that things could always be worse. Then I walk into a cafe to spend time with my own thoughts and sure enough, I hear someone talking about something that would absolutely break me if I was having to deal with it.

I always love how God knows exactly what I need to hear, or overhear. These last two weeks have been brutal to say the least. I guess my vacation to the East coast was the first real vacation I took where I had a ton of responsibilities to come home to. I guess it was my first “adult,” vacation. I have been in a zone, no lie. I haven’t been as patient, as graceful and as kind as I normally am. Although subconsciously I know i’m not being the person I want to be, it is ridiculously hard to pull yourself out of it. When you are in the midst of the grind, you tend to only focus on that.

Let’s be honest, in today’s generation we are all out for ourselves. When you think about it, that makes the world a pretty cold place. Imagine if we all just took 5 minutes out of our day to listen to others. To respond kindly when someone asks for help. To be graceful when faced with adversity. To be patient when we are running 100mph and “don’t have time to be.” What a world it would be if we all just took a few minutes out of our day to be humble and kind. That is a world I would love to live in. Anyone else feeling this way? Catch yourself before you wreck yourself! 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful day and remember to start small, maybe today it is 5 minutes, maybe tomorrow it is 10. Take the time to notice people in real life and not just the ones filling up your timeline on Facebook.

God bless!

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Hume Lake Christian Camps

Hume Lake Christian Camps Winter Camp

Hume Lake Christian Camps California

California Sunset Dunlap

Hume Lake Without Water

This past weekend I had the opportunity of heading to winter camp with some amazing high schoolers from my church. I was so excited to get to join them on this journey and get to go to Hume Lake Christian Camps for my first time. My sister had gone there when I was a kid but I was too little to go. I didn’t know what to expect. The drive was long and the mountains were steep, so I was a little rattled by the time we got there. However, once I stepped out of my vehicle, I had this overwhelming peace and was so excited for what the weekend would hold. I had a wonderful cabin full of girls that were eager to learn more about God’s love and being able to witness their lives change was something I will never take for granted.

I could sit here and tell you it was all about them but that wouldn’t be true. Just as they didn’t know what to expect this past weekend, neither did I. I had gone into this weekend assuming I would be there to support them in their walk with Christ. I had no idea that I would be forever changed this weekend as well. Yes, my focus was on my girls but through that, I learned quite a bit about myself. I think it takes a weekend of rest and relaxation to put everything back into perspective. I saw kids come to Christ that had never heard His word before. I saw kids rededicate their lives to God and be truly moved by the things they heard. I got to see lives change right before my eyes and let me tell you, the tears were flowing.

I love my church and the people in it. Our leaders were incredible, calm, cool, collected and ready for anything that was thrown their way. One of my best friends, Melinda (in the first photo) was able to be a leader too, so getting to spend some one on one time with her in this beautiful place was priceless. I value her wisdom and outlook on life. It was so refreshing to be in a place where I didn’t feel like my faith was under attack. I got to let my guard down and just be me. A task that isn’t always that easy in your day to day life.

I am so blessed that I was able to be a part of an incredible event where over 1000 high students were able to be surrounded by love, talk about Jesus and have more fun than some have known their whole life. I am grateful for places like Hume Lake that allow students to come and be filled with positivity and hope. My heart is full.

Have a great Tuesday! God bless!

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