Survivor

“If your path is more difficult it’s because your calling is higher.” – @edmylett

It’s no secret that most wise people have the most traumatic pasts. They have fought long battles and probably lost most of them. They are also the most interesting people you will meet because they have gone through hardships.

But those people are also the ones fighting the hardest to live out each and every day. They are the ones escaping the wrath of suicide, depression, anxiety, negative thinking, and everything else that comes with trauma.

Lately I’ve been escaping those demons, barely getting away from the hands of my past. It’s easy to slip back into sadness, and unfortunately more difficult to choose happiness. I think it is because we long to be where we were before the trauma happened, before the loved ones died, we want to reverse time. I try every day to not live in the past, to consume my present and try to be the best version of me- I hear people say that “you can’t grow by living in the past” – but sometimes the past is just too hard to leave behind.

Post traumatic stress disorder is interesting, and for me, I find it is the hardest mental illness to overcome. Sometimes I find myself in the daze of a flashback and usually I do not want to return to my reality, I want to stay in the flashback where I know what is going to happen next. See, if I am having a flashback of me at the Route 91 concert, I know the next scene includes raining bullets. But if I go back to the present- its unpredictable, my mind is unsure of what is going to happen next.
Flashbacks make me comfortable, I’m in control- because it’s a scene of the story that has already happened.

Lately, I have been scared of my present and my future.
I have been obsessed with control.
And the only thing my brain believes to be in control over is the past.
So I’ve decided to write a letter from past Kassidy to present Kassidy.
I hope if you’ve been through something traumatic it resonates with you.

Dear 2019 Kassidy,

You’re missing out. Life is flying by and you’re sitting in a hospital room that is no longer yours to be in, walking halls that no longer exist.
You’re running from bullets that have already landed.
You couldn’t control the bullets, the cancer, or the pain- so what makes you think you will be able to control today? tomorrow? or next week?
You’re trying to put together a puzzle with pieces that don’t yet exist.
You’re losing your life all while trying to control it.
As you know, tomorrow is not in your hands.
You are not in the drivers seat.

So why don’t you sit back? Why don’t you do only what you can do in this day? Why don’t you rest, relax, and realize that you do not need to control what happens next, control is not the role God gave you on this earth.
I know you’re trying, I know you’re doing your best.
But remember that you don’t always have to be the best, you can just do your best.
Doing your best looks a lot different than being your best.
Just do what you can with what has been given to you today, not what was given to you 4 years ago, and definitely not what you think will be given to you 10 years from now.
Today is your only obstacle, what will you do with it?
You will survive.

You’ve got this.

Love,

Kassidy from 2013

I’d like to say writing this letter solves my PTSD. I’d like to say it cures it, helps me live in the moment that is today. But the illness doesn’t work like that- I have to remind myself of this letter every day. I have to choose now, 2019, over 2013, or 2017, or 2020. I have to decide to put my effort into today- and that’s harder than you think.

This post is dedicated to all who suffer from PTSD- from soldiers, to mothers, to fathers, to siblings, to you who’ve been through the worst of the worst.
You are not alone, your feelings are real, your flashbacks may haunt you but it’s only because you are called for a higher purpose.

the skirt you have to add to your closet before the summer ends

This Fast Foodie girl is all about being cute and comfortable! This skirt from Gracious & Grateful The Shop is just that- cute & comfortable.
I love to style skirts casual with a t-shirt and sneakers!

Fast Foodie T-Shirt

Women Wrapped Asymmetrical Ruffles Printed Casual Skirt

Pom Pom Slip On Shoe

Photographer –  @piperariellephotography

Another way to style one of my favorite skirts from Gracious & Grateful The Shop is to pair it with a bodysuit, giving you a tight bodice style!
Pair it with a casual tennis shoe or heels to dress the look up!

Ruffle Slim Fitted Bodysuit

Women Wrapped Asymmetrical Ruffles Printed Casual Skirt

Adidas Cloudfoam Advantage Shoes

*Please be advised that Gracious & Grateful The Shop has a shipment duration of about 2 weeks. To make sure your packages arrive on time please account for the shipping time*

Unstoppable

“You will never always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined”

This is exactly where I am at in my business.
See, I have trained myself to be habitual in many areas of my life. For example, going to the gym and drinking water- those are two things I must do and I know they are on my list every single day.

But, in business, it is easy to lack motivation- especially when it is slow.
Last week I made zero sales. None. I also was not able to focus on my business as I was busy working my other job- so it makes sense my sales were down. I currently do all marketing by myself, so if I am not posting– people are not seeing my blog, shop, or media content. But at the same time it is INSANELY discouraging to have no sales- to think you have progressed in your business to then have your report at the end of the week say “$0.00 profit.”

My limiting thoughts came burrowing through… “Who do you think you are to run a business?”, “If this week was $0.00 profit, next week will for sure be the same”, “You’re 24- who do you think you are to believe you can run a virtual business you can work from anywhere?”, “No one reads what you write– you should just stop writing.”
Now here’s where I have to personally make the choice.
I can choose to believe my limiting thoughts- or I can choose to change my narrative.

Last night before I went to bed I was scrolling through social media when I stumbled upon a post from one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Sara Blakely. If you’re unfamiliar with Sara, just know she is the inventor and owner of Spanx– which she started from her apartment. She is my ultimate mentor when it comes to my business and somehow at the exact moments I’m feeling down about what I’m trying to create, she posts on her social media to remind me that persistence and repetition help create the outcome you want- that, and the power of positive thought. Yesterday, Sara shared a story about spreading positivity and how powerful our thoughts are. I read it and was so inspired- because I have always struggled with my thoughts. I have always believed that my negative self talk was in control- and I was not. But over the years I’ve learned I am ultimately in charge of my thoughts and what I put into the world. So before I fell asleep last night I said my prayers, listed 10 things I was grateful for, and then I sent out positivity- I sent out light. I know it sounds a little witch like but hear me out. I write down every single day “I wish to be light”, I write that down because I truly wish to be a positive light for everyone in my life. So by sending out positive light it is only bound to come back to me- just like in Sara’s example in her post.

I fell asleep with a grateful and positive heart and mind, and after a week of doubt and zero sales… this morning I woke up to a sale. I was mind blown and a little shaken up. I think Jesus was trying to remind me that because of him, I have all the power I need. I just need to trust him and trust in the power he has given me. I have all the power inside of me to create a successful company, to write a successful blog, to be successful in the way Jesus has intended me to be. I just need to believe it and take ownership of the power he has given me.

I know I am not the only one doubting my abilities. I know you are too. And maybe you’re not doubting a business working out or your writing. Maybe you’re doubting your ability to be a mother? Or a student? Or just to make it another day without falling apart?

Let me remind you of something extraordinary.
You have the power.
Jesus has given you the power to be the best version of you- and when you can’t, he’s there to pick you up and say “try again”
You have the power to believe that you are a good mother.
You have the power to believe that you are going to do great in school.
You have the power to believe that you are going to make it through this day.
YOU have the power to believe in YOU.
And when you realize that the power is inside of you, you will be unstoppable.

For more inspiring posts- check out my Instagram!

Why you should shop small

I’m not sure what to address first, the fact I found the only phone booth in Naples Florida or the fact that this outfit is absolute PERFECTION!
For those local content creators who are dying to use a phone booth for the perfect shot, you have to check out Lake Park Diner!

I’m going to do my best to link this outfit- although most of the pieces are from way back!!! Except for this gorgeous leopard print skirt that you know is from Gracious & Grateful The Shop! If you haven’t got to shopping- you need too!


Here’s a couple reasons why you should shop small this holiday season:

  • You are supporting small businesses! Small businesses = Big Dreamers trying to achieve even BIGGER goals!
  • YOU are making an impact- with your purchase, you’re allowing me to grow my business which allows you to get more of a say in what products I put in the shop!
  • You make my heart happy- By supporting my small business, you’re actually supporting a big dream of Kassidy’s. You shopping at Gracious & Grateful The Shop is so much more than a simple check out process. Every time I see a new sale come through, I see my dream growing right in front of my eyes, which would never be able to happen without support from YOU!

Panama Hat

Casual Slip Style Skirt

Slip on Mules

Photographer – @piperariellephotography

*Please be advised that Gracious & Grateful The Shop has a shipment duration of about 2 weeks. To make sure your packages arrive on time please account for the shipping time*

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

I’ve been avoiding talking about this month because although I used to bring awareness to childhood cancer like it was my second religion, moving and finding my own space in the world has allowed me to distance myself from the advocate side of childhood cancer.
It is not that I do not want to be an advocate for the children fighting this horrific disease, because I am an advocate each and every day. What you have to understand is that sometimes, well actually ALL the time, advocating for the cause that KILLED your brother, is difficult. It hurts. It brings out my post traumatic stress disorder more than any other month.

The honest truth is I don’t want to spend my days focusing on the disease that killed my brother.
But I do want a cure so that no one has to go through what I’ve been through.
It’s a little bit of a give and take situation- I want to give support, but not have it take all my energy as I remember that my brother is dead.

So maybe it’s selfish? But honestly, grief is selfish. I am focusing on MY feelings about losing Cooper, how I view Cooper since he is gone, and what I have lost.

The thing is, childhood cancer still scares me. You would think after losing my brother to the disease I would be able to distance myself. But actually childhood cancer is in the back of my mind constantly. When I am with the babies I watch, the numbers of kids diagnosed each day runs through my head. When I think about my future, having children, the “what if’s” of childhood cancer come creeping up.
And I know your solution as you’re reading this- “Well Kassidy, you can’t live in fear” – You’re right, but you’ve also probably never seen a pediatric unit on Christmas morning, a child get poked with a needle larger than your hand, or watch that same child die.

Grief is hard.


September is hard- because it reminds me of the almost 4 years of absolute HELL that my family and I lived through. The funny thing is I cry more tears wishing he was still in the hospital, rather than crying tears cause he’s dead. My selfish heart wants him here, but my realistic brain knows he would not be the Cooper he was before he was sick.

So, instead of being an advocate for the children currently fighting childhood cancer, the children that are about to receive that diagnosis, or the children who are about to die from childhood cancer.
I wish to be an advocate for all of you who are not going to be affected by childhood cancer, who are not going to hear the words “Your son has Leukemia” or “Your daughter has a Glioblastoma brain tumor.”
I wish to be an advocate for all the people who will not hear those words because I want to remind you of the things that you are privileged to do with your children, siblings, mothers, and fathers each day that we who are grieving the loss of someone we love, cannot do.

You don’t have to say ‘I love you’, but you get too.
You don’t have to give your child a hug, but you get too.
You don’t have to put your phone down to listen to your babies stories, but you get too.
You don’t have to tickle your little one’s back, but you get too.
You don’t have to take them to all the sports and dance classes they want to go too, but you get too.
You don’t have to spend time taking them to the park or on vacation, but you get too.
You don’t have to kiss them goodnight even when they made you crazy that night, but you get too.
You don’t have to feel blessed by your healthy family every day, but you get too.

You see where I am going with this.
Every thing is a choice- you don’t have to do anything in this world, you GET to do every thing in this world.
Including loving your people.

Friends, Love them well because tomorrow is not promised.
As today ends Childhood Cancer Awareness Month- tomorrow marks the 2nd anniversary of the Las Vegas Mass Shooting, where my sister and I ran for our lives.
I cannot imagine what tomorrow would look like if my parents went from losing one child, to three children in the matter of seconds.
I know for a fact my brother spared our lives, I know he was there holding Julia and I as we ran.

Grief is hard.

It comes in many forms, alive or dead.
So today, tomorrow, and always- love your people well because today you GET too.
Tomorrow you might not.