The Shot I won’t be missing

Hi my wonderful Gracious & Grateful Tribe!!!!

It has been a HOT minute since we chatted!
Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! Happy Every Holiday Ever Celebrated!

I took a break from my blog around Thanksgiving to focus on my shop– I ended the year with some pretty astounding sales, I am so grateful to all of YOU who made the boutique such a success this year! It’s pretty crazy to think it’s just the beginning of this business. It is thanks to YOU, my Gracious & Grateful Sisters that I achieved my Black Friday goal, and for that… If you make it to the end of this blog post, I have a special THANK YOU for you!!! Don’t forget to read the end of the post!

I hope your 2020 New Year Resolutions are in full swing! I want to encourage you to check out this podcast by Trent Shelton, who explains why New Year STANDARDS are better than New Year goals. I love how he explains that standards are things that will stay with us for the rest of our lives, rather than goals in which we achieve and potentially move on from. We want our lives to be consistent, a life in which we achieve something and move on to something even bigger always having the standard we set in the past behind us to keep us moving forward.

With that being said, every year I enjoy setting my standards. I enjoy finding new tasks I do not believe I can accomplish and then proving myself wrong. At the beginning of 2019 I set the goal to run a 10k, I was pretty sure I was not going to be able to run the whole thing, but proved myself wrong and then set the new standard for myself that I AM A RUNNER! Then their are the unexpected dreams that we come across mid year and decide to chase- like starting my online boutique. That was definitely not on the list at the beginning of the year, but by the end it became the thing I am most proud of!

2020 is here and so are the new standards we are choosing to set for ourselves as the year continues. I am sure many of you have fitness goals, career goals, and even goals to turn your hobby into your career!

I made a vision board with one of my best friends and as we were cutting out images and quotes for our boards I came across one that is now in the dead center of my board, “We do not change the world when we whisper, we change it when we roar.”

I cannot expect to change the world by whispering, if I am going to change it, I have to roar.

So here we go, Kassidy’s 2020 STANDARDS!

In the year 2020, Kassidy WILL:

So what is the thing on the list I feel I am most likely to achieve? Running a half marathon, I had a great 2019 training for the 10k and I know it’s only up from here. What’s the thing I feel I am LEAST likely to achieve on that list? Spending more time working on my special project. Why? Because I am scared. That is the only excuse I have for you, but I will think of a million excuses to convince myself NOT to work on this project. Simply because I am scared I will fail, that the project I am working on will never be good enough, that it and I will suck.

BUT! Guess what? I am allowed to suck.
I am allowed to take as many tries as I need to step into the cold water to eventually be swimming in it- but it’s going to take some time before I believe I can start swimming in that cold water. Rachel Hollis says there is no such thing as “the first perfect try” you must try and then fall over and stand up again and try again, because if you never do you will regret that you never tried in the first place.

I have two requests from you, my Gracious & Grateful Tribe- my friends, my family, my people.
First, Would you pray for me as I work on one of the many projects God has laid on my heart? For me to have the courage to create the bold new things God has asked his faithful servant to prepare for you? For encouragement as I go about this year completely different than all the rest?

Second, and this one is a fun one– as I mentioned, This year I want to do 12 things that will fulfill 12 things other people wished they could have done before they died. Be it small or large. I need some ideas of things you know your family members wished they would have done before they went to Heaven. I also want some ideas of things YOU would want to do before you die. I already have some ideas but I need some help coming up with even MORE! I am hoping to do one thing a month and document it for you all to follow along my 2020 adventure.

So here I am, shaking in my Target running shoes as I write this- thinking about publishing it! I’m not sure why these things scare me so much as they do, but at the same time I feel so sure in the fact that I have to do them. I have to do the things that scare me. I have to step out of my comfort zone and be a MAGNATE for my community, for ME.

If you are not scared of the things you intend on chasing this year, it is my hope that you re-evaluate what you’re chasing. It is my hope that you choose the things that challenge you. It is my hope that you remember that this is your ONE life- this is all you have, right here, right now.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
So shoot your shot.

“Take the first step toward the rest of your life”
Click HERE to shop this skirt!

Waiting to hear your special THANK YOU announcement?
Here it is!
Because you showed up for me as a tribe, I want to show up for you! If you’re reading this blog and decide to shop Gracious & Grateful make sure to use the code THANKS20 you’ll receive 20% off your entire purchase at checkout! Thank you for always supporting a girl with big dreams!

I peed my pants

When I was little (and by little I mean a freshman in high school), I was TERRIFIED of moths. At one point there was a moth upstairs and there are only two bedrooms upstairs, mine and my sister Julia’s. So as I got Julia to attempt to kill the moth, it some how flew near me and I peed my pants.
No, I am not lying, I peed my pants because of a moth.

I was so petrified over that little guy that I urinated all over myself and the ground. Why in the world am I telling you this?
Because when I think back on that moment the truth is that fear brought me to peeing my pants. I was SO scared I could no longer control my bodily fluids… WOW.

Now I am at a spot in my life where if the thing I am chasing is not making me want to pee my pants, I am not chasing big enough dreams.
My whole life I was scared of moths, I let them torture me.
My whole life I was also scared of chasing my dreams, they tortured me in different ways. I would sit on the edge of what I thought would be a great idea and then I would talk myself out of it.

Do you ever feel like you’re dangling on the edge of something great?
But of course you’re not sure if it’s going to be great… or suck.

GRACIOUS & GRATEFUL THE SHOP

2020 is around the corner and I’ve got some big goals I’m THINKING of adding to my list. But if I’m honest, I’m scared- super scared. What if I don’t achieve the goals? What if they are TOO big?

Then I stop myself and try to remember, at the beginning of 2018 I wrote down I would figure out how to move across the county… and CHECK!
2019, I wrote down I would run a 10K after never running a mile in my life… and CHECK!
I’ve checked off every scary, pee my pants type of fear, I’ve ever wrote down on my New Years list… so if I’m going to the next level, what’s the difference? If I can do ALL those other things, why can’t I do the next thing that’s on my heart?

The only thing stopping me is me.
The only thing that is creating fear in me, is ME choosing doubt.

I have some LARGE, scary dreams I am going to accomplish in 2020.
But the first dream is choosing to believe in myself– choosing to set aside fear, be brave, and BELIVE that I can accomplish anything.

Because at the end of the day,
I am already a boss.
I am already a business OWNER.
I am already a runner.
I am already a great writer.
So I am already going to be great at whatever I accomplish next.

I’m not sure where I learned this concept but it’s stuck with me, “The only person who will believe in your dreams as much as you do, is YOU.”
No one, not your person, not your boyfriend, not even your parents- understand the thing that lights YOUR soul on fire. Only YOU will be able to remind yourself WHY you’re doing the thing your doing every day. Only you will be able to commit to chasing that dream every single day.

I’m dangling on the edge of something great, are you?
I’m going to accomplish that something great whether it’s today or next week or next year, are you?
Are you choosing to chase a dream that makes you wanna pee a little?

See it’s funny, the moth use to chase me and then I would pee my pants.
But now, I chase the moth HOPING I pee my pants a little.
Because peeing my pants only means I did the thing that scared me.
I conquered fear.
I crushed Goliath with a pebble.
I caught the moth.

Note To Self

Today I am having a bad day.

Waking up is hard- I do my absolute best to choose the day ahead of me but being completely transparent, sometimes I let the day choose me. I let the depression win, I let the anxiety take over, and I decide to surrender to all the pain that is, mental illness.

Then, the guilt sets in. Which for me, is the worst part- I feel guilty for feeling my mental illness, like it’s not a real illness. I think this guilt stems from being surrounded by a physical illness like cancer for a portion of my life. I have this lie in my head that I tell myself, “You’re not really sick unless the blood test shows you that you are.” It is a lie I’ve convinced myself of and even as I type it I know it sounds ridiculous. But for so long I had convinced myself that Cooper’s cancer was of more importance than my mental health would ever be. That because it was cancer, I could never compete unless I too, had cancer. No illness, especially no mental illness, was of enough importance to admit it was a problem.
I know where this lie stems from, it stems from a long line of feeling like if it wasn’t cancer it wasn’t a big enough problem to address. See, when you’re a sibling of someone with cancer, someone dying of cancer. You make your problems small. You convince yourself that your problems are not as big as cancer so they do not matter.
The problem with this is, you cannot undo the mess you’ve create in your mind- it follows you.
So now, years after cancer has left my life and Cooper has left this world- I still believe my illness is not valid. I still have to convince myself that if I am having an off day I can rest my mind and my heart.

But let me tell you what cancer and mental illness have in common.
They can both kill you.

So I am writing this, a note to myself, that just like cancer feasting at the bodies every healthy cell, my mental illness is doing the same thing.
And if ignored, my mental illness will take hold of every healthy cell, and kill it off just like cancer.
Cancer and mental illness are not far off from each other.
It’s just how you choose to look at it.

Maybe today you too need to be reminded that whatever you’re dealing with is just as important as cancer, or a heart attack, or a paper cut. Do not weigh YOUR struggles against someone else’s. Everyone is hurting, everyone is struggling, whether physical or mental, illness is real.

If I could go back and tell Kassidy something in January of 2013, a few short weeks before Cooper would be diagnosed with cancer, I would tell her two things.
Never feel guilty for what you’re feeling- mental or physical.
Your pain is important.

Even though we can’t go back, we can go forward.
I can tell Kassidy today and Kassidy tomorrow those same words.
I can work through the guilt of feeling like my illness is not enough compared to others.
And maybe you need to work through that guilt too. Whether you’re a cancer sibling or a mom who puts her child’s needs before her own.
We all struggle with this, so lets say it together…

“Never feel guilty for what you’re feeling- mental or physical.
Your pain is important”

To My Gracious & Grateful Community,
I want to remind you-
You are loved.
You are enough.
You are important.
You are needed.
Tomorrow needs you.

xoxo,
Kassidy

The dress

When I saw this dreamy dress, I just knew I had to add it to my shop!
It’s flowy, can be worn on or off the shoulders, and is extremely comfortable! All my requirements when looking for the perfect brunch dress! I wore this dress to a blogger brunch I attended and the benefit to the dress being so flowy? I could eat more food! haha!

I paired the dress with some adorable tassel earrings, you can find similar ones in my shop, and a cute wrap around sandals.

Ruffle Trim Dress

Boho Long Tassel Earrings

Tie Up Ankle Strap Flat Sandals for Women

*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*

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.